How to Beat Camera Traffic Light Tickets in Ohio

Traffic light and a camera on blue sky background. Traffic control concept.
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Traffic cameras in Ohio are not as plentiful as they once were due to recent legislation that required a law enforcement officer to be stationed at traffic camera locations. As a result, many cities in the Buckeye State got rid of their traffic cameras due to the expense.

Nevertheless, they still exist in places around the state. Ignoring them, however, isn’t a smart idea for drivers, as it may affect their credit score down the road.

Traffic Camera History in Ohio

In 2014 the Ohio General Assembly approved legislation that would require a law enforcement officer to be stationed at each traffic camera location. Officials from some of Ohio's bigger cities said that the new legislation would make keeping the cameras too expensive.

Despite the Ohio Supreme Court striking down the law in 2017, many municipalities had already removed the cameras. However, traffic cameras still exist in some cities, like Dayton and Akron.

How a Traffic Camera Works

While used in some places in Ohio, traffic cameras don’t hold much water on their own in a violation conviction. Law enforcement officers personally must give drivers a ticket. When deciding to give a driver a citation, the police officer can refer to what the camera captured, including:

  • Vehicle’s license plate information.
  • Driver’s speed at the time the camera captured them.
  • Violation’s location, date and time.
  • Amount of time since the light turned red.

In Dayton, a driver who receives a camera ticket from the city’s Public Safety Photo Enforcement Program can view the camera footage. To do this, they’ll enter the City Code (DAY) and Citation Notice Number from their citation where they can view the video on line for 60 days through Photonotice.

Types of Traffic Cameras in Ohio Cities

There are two main types of traffic cameras in Ohio. Cameras used for traffic enforcement are mounted next to or over the road or placed inside a law enforcement vehicle. The camera detects various traffic violations, such as drivers ignoring red lights and speeding, or the unauthorized use of bus lanes.

It is also used for recording cars in a congestion zone and may link to an automated ticketing system.

Speeding and red light cameras are automated and used primarily to deter and detect speeders and drivers running red lights. Some Ohio jurisdictions also use these cameras for additional traffic violations, like crossing railroad tracks illegally. Cameras can be placed in a particular community or area.

Traffic Camera Locations in Ohio

Some areas have red light cameras, while others have speed cameras. Still others have both. The current locations for red light cameras in Ohio are:

  • Ashtabula.
  • Columbus.
  • Dayton.
  • East Cleveland.
  • Middletown.
  • Northwood.
  • Springfield.
  • Toledo.
  • Trotwood.
  • West Carrollton.

Locations in Ohio with speed cameras are:

  • Akron.
  • Ashtabula.
  • Columbus.
  • Dayton.
  • East Cleveland.
  • Hamilton.
  • Newburgh Heights.
  • Northwood.
  • Parma.
  • Toledo.
  • Trotwood.
  • Village of Lucas.
  • West Carrollton.

Resolving a Traffic Camera Citation

No points will appear on a driving record, and the motorist will not risk losing their license – traffic camera tickets are a civil violation under state law. The offender can resolve them in one of three ways. They can:

  • Pay the penalty online within 15 days with a debit or credit or card, or send a check by mail to the address on the citation.
  • Provide information on who was driving the vehicle (if not them) within 15 days, and mail their notarized affidavit to the address on the citation.
  • Request within 15 days to challenge the ticket before a hearing officer.

Failure to do any of the above will result in a $25.00 late fee for defaulting on the ticket that will be added to the amount of the fine. The offender will also receive a default notice. If they don’t respond to it, the unpaid citation goes into collection.

Appealing the Citation

If the driver appeals the ticket, they must still pay the $85 citation fee before the notice’s due date. Once it’s paid, an appeal hearing is scheduled, and if the hearing officer concludes that an infraction did occur, the city keeps the $85. If the hearing officer finds in favor of the driver, they'll get their $85 back.

If the driver does not show up for the appeal, the city keeps the $85 to satisfy the amount of the fine.

Showing Up at the Hearing

While statistics show that law enforcement incorrectly issues one in four tickets, just 5 percent of drivers contest them. Appearing at the hearing is sometimes the best way to beat a ticket because the officer who issued it may not show up in court.

A driver’s physical appearance at the hearing can also improve the likelihood of beating the ticket; dressing down does not change the specifics of the case, but it can leave an unfavorable impression that the driver isn’t taking the ticket seriously.

The driver’s demeanor also matters – they should always be respectful of the hearing officer and avoid getting angry or frustrated. A driver giving a calm explanation on what they believe is their innocence can go a long way.

Impact of a Camera Citation

A camera citation isn’t a traffic violation, so the worst that could happen to the person who gets the citation and refuses to pay it is that it goes into collection as an unpaid debt. This could hurt the driver’s credit, which, in turn, can affect their ability to do things like buy a car or rent an apartment later on.

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