Letter to the Editor: What You Should Know About Red Light Camera Tickets

Reader Roger Jones shares tips on dealing with Snitch Tickets, fake red-light camera tickets issued whenever the police cannot identify the driver of a vehicle.

By Roger Jones

Four cities in Alameda County issue fake red light camera tickets, called Snitch Tickets, whenever the police cannot identify the driver of the car.

Typically that problem occurs because the DMV photo of the owner doesn't match the driver who is a spouse or other family member, or when the vehicle is a taxi cab, truck or rental car registered in a company name.

Snitch Tickets look like the real McCoy, but they can be ignored — because they are fake. Nonetheless many people worry, “But the ticket says I MUST write down the driver's information and mail it in.”

If you received an official looking letter saying "jump off a bridge," would you do it? In a 2011 KTVU interview, Police Chief Ken James of Emeryville said, "You cannot get in trouble for not responding."

There is no legal requirement for the owner to do so and there are no consequences for not snitching on the family member, friend, or employee driving the car.

The owner of a vehicle who receives a snitch ticket is free to handle the matter internally. He can reprimand the driver, be it spouse, son, daughter, or employee.

Or, if the violation depicted in the photos is an egregious one — a rare occurrence — take away their access to the vehicle.

Fake or Real? How can you tell? There are three clear ways to tell the difference. A real ticket MUST say “Notice to Appear” and a fake cannot use these words.

A real ticket will give the court's address and phone number. A fake will give some other address, perhaps the police station, or an address in Arizona. In fact the fake will most likely say, “Do not call the Court.” Why? Because the court has no record of the citation because it is not real.

If you are still not sure what to do, call a traffic attorney or Google “snitch ticket.”

Been Taken July 28, 2012 at 08:24 AM
Law inforcement issueing snitch tickets? Deceptive; abbusive; illegal; and otherwise common of government. Undesireables and un american values.
Roger July 28, 2012 at 04:24 PM
I doubt there is any camera ticket issued where a right turn on red is NOT permitted because that is where the money is. The tickets are issued to those who do not stop FIRST before turning on a red. No sign is required stating that fact.
Jim July 28, 2012 at 07:41 PM
It's not just in Alameda County. Motorists everywhere in California need to know about Snitch Tickets. (Citrus Hts, Daly City, Elk Grove, Hayward, Marysville, Menlo Park, Millbrae, Newark, Redding, San Mateo, San Leandro, South SF, Corona, Del Mar, El Cajon, Encinitas, Escondido, Garden Grove, Laguna Woods, Los Alamitos, Oceanside, Poway, Riverside, Santa Ana, Solana Beach and Vista use them.) Once you understand how tricky a Snitch Ticket is, tell your friends who live in or visit California about them, so that they won't get tricked.
Roger September 17, 2012 at 03:05 PM
Neighboring Oakland is preparing its proposal for a new contract with Redflex for even more cameras. Safety Committee will hear the proposal at 4:30 on Tuesday, Sept. 25. contact camtickets@aol.com
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