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The right to remain silent

Original post made on Nov 8, 2011

Quiz time: You get a "traffic violation notice" from the Menlo Park police department in the mail saying you must identify the person who ran a red light while driving a car registered to you. Included is a photo of the violation snapped by a red-light camera. What are your options, if any?

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, November 8, 2011, 11:07 AM

Comments (10)

Posted by Honestlee
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 8, 2011 at 12:31 pm

With the danger of injury to others, I think the vehicle owner should bear responsibility of the ticket. If a business owners drivers break traffic laws, the cost of the ticket should come out of their wages. If I let my son use my car and he runs a red light, I would certainly be able to identify him in the photo or by the date and time of the occurrence. The lights were put in to make our intersections safer for all of us.

Posted by rat
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Nov 8, 2011 at 1:13 pm

The cops should just send the tickets to the car owner's insurance company. Insurance is based on the car, not the driver, so it does not matter who was driving. If you hit someone when running a red light, your insurance company is one the hook (in a big way) so they have a right to know about these infractions and adjust your rates accordingly. The DMV should have your insurance information on file.

Posted by Scholar
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Nov 8, 2011 at 1:26 pm

Police abuse of due process -- is that taught at the academies?

Posted by Answer
a resident of another community
on Nov 8, 2011 at 1:29 pm

Legal answer is no, there is absolutely no legal obligation to any individual to do so.

People can argue it based on ethics and their own standards of ethics.

Legally, there is absolutely no obligation under this notice. 100% sure.

Posted by Joseph E. Davis
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Nov 8, 2011 at 2:27 pm

Police lies and harassment. City treating the normal and safe behavior of residents as prey for revenue. Situation normal in The Land of the Free, 2011 edition, brought to you by public sector unions and their desperate search for other people's money.

Posted by Dena Passa
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Nov 8, 2011 at 2:38 pm

Great story! But I wish I knew which local business has a fleet of drivers who are consistently running red lights and endangering lives. I'd boycott them. Red-light running is the height of selfishness and reckless endangerment of the public.

Posted by Stan
a resident of Portola Valley: Los Trancos Woods/Vista Verde
on Nov 8, 2011 at 2:49 pm

The Menlo Park police department has a sorry history of not just bending the law but breaking it on many issues. Harassing minorities is another one of their favorite past times.

It's a shame that the City's legal counsel seems to be all for finding loop holes for them and providing a veneer of legality to cover up their unpleasant and outrageous behaviors.

Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 8, 2011 at 2:56 pm

Answer is correct. The owner of the vehicle is under no obligation to identify the driver of the vehicle. Write "it's not me" on it and send it back. Red light cameras are an abuse of due process.

Posted by Route66
a resident of another community
on Nov 9, 2011 at 7:25 am

Route66 is a registered user.

Excellent article, and about something that really needed more exposure.

Here is more on how to recognize the fake tickets. You cannot recognize them just by the title: "Traffic Violation Notice," as that title can be also be used on a real ticket. And, the police are under no legal obligation to continue printing "Do not contact the court" on the fakes. The one sure way of recognizing a fake is that it will not have the name and address of the local branch of Superior Court on it. Instead, it will direct you to contact something with a generic name like the Traffic Violations Bureau - which will manned either by the camera company, or the local police. (If you contact the "Bureau," it's all over for you - kiss $500 goodbye.)

Menlo Voter said to write "It's Not Me" on the fake ticket, and send it back. That's BAD advice. As the title of this story says, you have the right to remain silent. Use it! Keep your mouth shut. Do not respond to a fake ticket. Do not contact the police by phone, by mail, or by computer. Don't go to a cop bar, get drunk, and start babbling. But DO show the fake ticket to your trusted friends, to educate them, so that they won't fall for one of the fakes.

I love this job.

Posted by RogerJ
a resident of another community
on Nov 10, 2011 at 7:09 am

RogerJ is a registered user.

Red Light Cameras are really not about safety. A vast majority of tickets are for those who either do not fully stop before turning right OR to those who enter an intersection a fraction of a second after the light turns red. If only 1/2 second is added to the yellow light infractions will be nearly halved (massive enforcement will not achieve that result). Then, the rolling rights, which are never held forth as a safety issue, when the camera folks come to town with their proposals, will be the only way to raise enough revenue to pay the high rental fee for the cameras. A nearly $500 fine and a point on one's license for a rolling right turn is truly subverting "it's all about safety" claim.

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