How to fight a ticket for running a red light?

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How to fight a ticket for running a red light?

The cop says I went through a steady red light but I believe it was still yellow as I was going through it. It was around midnight, not a single other car around except the cop waiting hidden nearby to catch people. Not at all a busy intersection, however I know the judge wouldn’t care about that. The cop asked if I knew why he pulled me over and I suspected the yellow/red light being the issue but still said I didn’t know why. At one point while the cop was reprimanding me, I apologized and at another point I said that I didn’t drive in that area often. I didn’t feel it would do any good to argue with him and was

courteous the entire time but I also never explicitly admitted fault.The court date is coming up shortly. I’ve had a speeding ticket reduced to 5 miles over the limit in court about 3 years ago and no other traffic violations and no accidents in my full at least 10 year history of driving. The cop said something like he wouldn’t mind letting me off without the points in court or something like that. Should I try to make a deal with the cop on the court day. Is it advisable for me to tell the judge I believe the light was still yellow as I went through it?

Asked on July 12, 2018 under General Practice, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Negotiating a favorable plea--a deal, as you put it--in court is the best option, with a reasonable chance of success. When you have a good driving record, the authorities are often willing to deal, especially if you are willing to pay a larger fine in exchange for fewer points (you can often "trade" fine for points on the license). Speak with the officer and/or prosecutor in court--that has a much better chance of success than trying to "fight" the ticket, since the court will almost always believe the officer over you, and it is not a defense that you "thought" that the light was yellow; all that matters is whether it was red or not, not what you believed.


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