Articles for December 2013

Red Light Camera Tickets in Ventura County

by Matthew Bromund

Principal Attorney
December 27th, 2013

red light camerasHere in Ventura County, California, the red-light camera has been deployed at most of the busiest intersections in two of the county’s larger cities:  Oxnard and Ventura.  The tickets issued through the operation of these devices cost drivers more than $480 each and many people believe two falsehoods about the tickets:  1) that they cannot be issued in error, or challenged effectively in court and 2) that they make the intersections safer.  At the Bromund Law Group, we have a 80% success rate for our clients in contesting these tickets at trial and a 100% certainty that the cameras make intersections more dangerous.  How you ask?

Here are my Top Ten Winning Arguments for Red Light Camera Tickets:

1.    Blurry photo of the driver.

2.    The driver isn’t recognizable as the defendant. 

3.    Driver is not the charged defendant. 

4.    Affidavit of someone not in court identifying our client as the driver.  Not admissible at trial as an affidavit is not competent evidence. 

5.    Yellow Light is too brief.  Vehicle Code Section 21455.7 says that yellow lights cannot be shorter than those provided in the CalTrans Traffic Manual.  (Under present California rules, the minimum yellow light change interval for a left turn or right turn phase is 3.0 seconds.)

red light tickets ventura county

6.    The warning signs are not present or proper in dimension and visibility.  Vehicle Code Section 21455.5 requires the posting of warning signs. The signs must comply with CalTrans specifications:  They must be at least 30″ wide and 42″ inches high, the bottom edge must be at least 7 feet above the pavement level (5 feet in rural areas), and they must be laid-out per the CalTrans design.

7.    The specific camera used to generate your citation was not installed as required by Vehicle Code Section 21455.5.  In 2005, twice in 2008, and twice again in 2010 appellate courts clarified the law, ruling that a city errs if it fails to provide warning tickets for the first thirty days of operation when it adds a new camera to its system.

8.    The light wasn’t actually red at the time you entered the intersection.  Light speed isn’t the only speed that matters when looking at a photograph of a red-light.  California Vehicle Code Section 21453, says:  “A driver facing a steady red… shall stop….”  LEDs (light-emitting diodes), the fastest-acting light source used in signals, can take slightly more than  0.1 second to light-up (turn-on) after the power has been applied.  The key to this defense is close observation of the sequence of pictures showing the relative brightness of the light as the images progress. 

red light tickets ventura county

9.    The ticket wasn’t issued properly.  The police often mail the ticket to the wrong address or send it outside the authorized time period for issuance.  Vehicle Code Section 40518 requires the notice to be sent within 15 days of the alleged violation. 

10. The city may not have a cost-neutral contract with the vendor who runs the camera.  Vehicle Code Section 21455.5 prohibits “pay per ticket” contracts.  21455.5(h) says: (h)(1) A contract [with a red light camera supplier]… may not include… payment… based on the number of citations generated, or as a percentage of the revenue generated…”  Oxnard and Ventura have had, in the past, contracts that do not comply with this law.  Oxnard averages about 600 such tickets per month.  Oxnard signed a new contract in September 2013.  Ventura averages about 780 such tickets per month.  Ventura’s contract is not cost-neutral in regards to ‘rolling right turn’ tickets and thus can be challenged outright in court. 

As for whether or not the cameras make us safer, I cite you to the following:

ventura county red light tickets

  1. Palm Beach did a study, showing that rear-end collisions spiked after the installation of the cameras.  You can read about it here.
  2. If you don’t like studies, how about logic?  Here is a good succint argument about how the cameras change behavior in ways that are not consistent with driver safety. 

The Bromund Law Group’s most recent victory on a red-light camera ticket came on December 6, 2013.  If you would like to help us notch another win, call us today at 805.650.1100.  As a defense attorney, I love to fight these tickets and restore justice to the justice system. 

Matthew Bromund of Bromund Law Group

Matthew Bromund
Principal Attorney

Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver

by Adriana

December 24th, 2013

Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver

Jack Seal of Bromund Law Group

On March 4, 2013 USCIS began accepting a new application for a waiver of unlawful presence, called a 601A. This is definitely a step in the right direction! For those who qualify, it means that you can apply for the waiver while still in the United States, and you can get the approval while still in the United States. For those who are granted the waiver, the trip to their country of origin to be formally admitted will take less than a week.

 

Before USCIS began changing this process, the applicant would have to travel to the consulate in their home country (Ciudad Juarez in most cases) and apply for admission before they were even allowed to request a waiver of unlawful presence. This often meant that it would take several months, and upwards of a year to have their waiver processed and hopefully be admitted to the United States.

 

The waiver of unlawful presence is required by most people who are seeking admission to the US (applying for a Green Card in most cases) who have been in the US without permission for six months or more. Current law requires those applicants to wait for several years outside the country (in most cases 10 years) before the US government will allow the applicants to enter. The waiver of unlawful presence is an application for an exception to that rule.

 

The new application (601A) is only available to immediate relatives of US Citizens. It is limited to those applicants who do not require any other waivers, which are usually required for certain criminal convictions. And like the traditional 601 waiver, it requires a showing of extreme hardship to the applicant’s immediate relatives who are already legally present in the United States.

 

I have posted a link below to the USCIS website and the instructions for the form, but call today to schedule a free consultation with the Bromund Law Group if you would like to discuss this, or any other immigration issue!

http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.5af9bb95919f35e66f614176543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=26215a63d813d310VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD&vgnextchannel=db029c7755cb9010VgnVCM10000045f3d6a1RCRD

 

Jack D. Seal

Attorney at the Bromund Law Group

Immigration Reform

by Adriana

December 20th, 2013

Immigration Reform

 white house

The United States’ Senate continues to work out the details of a comprehensive immigration reform bill, currently referred to as the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, and we remain confident that they will get the reform passed before the end of summer. The basics of the immigration reform seem largely unchanged: those unlawful immigrants who were present before the end of 2011 should have a path to legalization. There will probably be requirements that all applicants have addressed all past income tax issues in the US, and there will probably be some sort of financial penalty. The financial penalty will probably be similar to the penalty we saw a few decades ago with the INA 245(i) penalty of $1000.

 

It looks like applicants will be on some sort of probationary status for an extended period, but will have work authorization and the ability to get a driver’s license. Applicants will be on the path to Lawful Resident status, with the ability to eventually naturalize and become US Citizens.

 

Many issues have yet to be resolved, and any reform is likely to be accompanied by improved border security which will make it far more difficult to enter the US without permission. There is a renewed push to improve biometric technology at the border, which is a hotly contested (and very expensive) issue.

 

There will certainly be strict rules for those with criminal convictions. It is extremely important for any non US Citizen consult an immigration attorney if they are facing criminal charges, and perhaps even more so for unlawful immigrants. For anyone who has been in trouble with the law or who has had contact with Immigration authorities, it is a good idea to submit a request under the Freedom of Information Act to examine the records the government has related to the applicant.

 

http://www.schumer.senate.gov/forms/immigration.pdf

 

Jack D. Seal

Attorney at Bromund Law Group

Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

by Adriana

December 17th, 2013

Nelson Mandela, the revered statesman who emerged from prison after 27 years to lead South Africa out of decades of apartheid, died December 5, 2013. “He no longer belongs to us; he belongs to the ages,” President Barack Obama stated in remarks at the White House. “We will not likely see the likes of Nelson Mandela ever again,” the president said. “So it falls to us, as best we can, to carry forward the example that he set.”

 

Mandela was the first black President to hold office in South Africa. While in office he dedicated his presidency to dismantling apartheid through tackling poverty and racial inequality. Prior to his presidency, Mandela was an advocate against the apartheid throughout his life. On August 5, 1962 he was jailed and subsequently convicted of sabotage, inciting worker’s strikes, and leaving the country without permission. He used his trial to highlight the racism in South Africa. At the trial, instead of testifying, he opted to give a speech:

 

“I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination,” he said. “I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal, which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

 

He was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment, despite pleas for clemency by the United Nations and World Peace Council. He spent the next twenty-seven years of his life in prison.

In 1990, Mandela was released from prison and in 1994 was elected President. Despite chronic political violence in the years preceding the vote that put him in office in 1994, South Africa avoided a full-fledged civil war in its transition from apartheid to multiparty democracy. The peace was due in large part to the leadership and vision of Mandela and Frederik Willem de Klerk. Although his presidency only last for one term, he dedicated the rest of his life promoting democracy and peace.

 

Sandra Holzner, Esq.

Associate Attorney Bromund Law Group

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