Camera Tickets

I have addressed this before, but we still get a lot of calls about camera tickets.  People ask if they should pay the citation or go to trial.  Louisiana does not suspend drivers’ licenses or take any other action against alleged violators other than referring them out for collection. This means there is no real penalty for ignoring the ticket at present.
I included a link below about what is happening in other states.  In Illinois, Chicago is so aggressive with their red light program people are having to file for bankruptcy to get out from under fines.  It looks like other states are much more aggressive with their collection efforts and taking drivers licenses.  We have filed a number of bankruptcies for people who had penalties at the DMV that were too high to pay so they had to go the bankruptcy route.  That is something we do not see much of in the state.
Under our new governor, the DMV will now accept payment plans and has made it easier for people to get their licenses back.  The way things stand  it is hard for me to recommend for anybody to take a day off from work to fight a camera ticket, when there are really no consequences from ignoring it.
The only exception I know about is the City of New Orleans.  They have a fleet of camera equipped trucks roaming around automatically checking license plates for people that have tickets within their city limits.  They pay particular attention to the area around the courthouse.  But if your car is not marked on the street, they are not known to check parking lots or other private parking areas.  If they find you, they will boot your car and get a cash payment before releasing it.
There is always the chance that places like Baton Rouge will step up their collection efforts.  The fines, however, are treated as civil penalties.  This means the city or town where you get the ticket does not really have much recourse.  It is not practical to sue each individual motorist for the $200 or $300 fine.  You may get a few letters, but that is about as far as it is likely to go.  No one has reported to me that the amount has been sent to the credit bureau.
There really is not a one-size-fits-all answer to the question. If you tend to worry, maybe you should pay the ticket or show up in court.  There is always some risk in ignoring a so-called official notice. Speaking just for myself, I would not voluntarily pay one of these fines for the time being.


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