Are red light camera tickets done?

HOUSTON If you believe one driver's attorney, this case sets a huge precedent. Not only does it raise questions about red light cameras he says, but it casts a shadow on the nearly 300,000 tickets already handed out.

If cases were won on pictures alone, some might say Sarah Smith had no chance. In the eyes of one judge, red light camera photos weren't proof enough. And now her attorney says others could be off the hook too.

"The affidavit is not sufficient to support you losing your hard earned money," said attorney Randall Kallinen.

Smith faced three tickets for making an illegal right turn. At her hearing, though, her lawyer argued the charging affidavit presented by the city wasn't sufficient, offering only that she violated a law without giving specifics.

"Basically they say the person did the violation, that is an opinion there are no facts," Kallinen said.

Even more compelling, her attorney says the exact same affidavit is used in every case. He believes, based on that, the nearly 300,000 tickets handed out since the program began should be thrown out, just like Smith's was.

"I think it was an isolated situation, I think that was one argument," said Bonita Tolbert who is the Assistant Director of the Municipal Courthouse.

The city argues each red light camera case is different with a different set of facts. They do acknowledge however, that possible changes to the way facts are presented in appeals might need to be addressed.

"I think if the city fails to amend their affidavit and change the way they present evidence, that they will face in the future starting with their own courts," said attorney Kim Ogg.

Ogg is not so certain that previous cases can be overturned.

As for Smith, she's just happy with her results and $225 still in her pocket.

Typically an appeals hearing is the final word on red light camera tickets, however city officials say if drivers feel they got an unfair hearing, they can take their cases to a district court and request a hearing.

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