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Man gets ticket for passing red light in state he has never been to

Many cities are using red-light cameras to catch drivers breaking the law, but more and more drivers say these cameras are ticketing the wrong people.

Many cities are now turning to high technology to go after speeders and people who run red lights. But sometimes, those citations turn out to be wrong.

Jacob Moritz prides himself on his driving. 

"I definitely don't run red lights, I can't afford to," Moritz said.

But Calumet City, Illinois thinks he did, sending him a $100 ticket for running a red-light camera. Only problem — Moritz said it's a case of mistaken identity. 

"I knew this wasn't my pickup truck and wasn't my license plate."

He said it's not his Ford-150 in the photos captured by the red-light camera.

"No that's a Ford Explorer Sports Track. Not the same vehicle? Not the same vehicle, it's actually more of an SUV."

But Moritz thinks he knows why he was targeted. His plate is one digit off from the license plate captured in the photo. His plate ends with "NKM' while the offending driver's plate ends with "NXM."

It might not be that big a deal except that Moritz is a commercial truck driver with a CDL license and anything like this could impact his job.

"I had to turn it into work because they told me that as of right now it is on my license," Moritz said.

The Calumet City Police said Moritz needs to challenge the ticket by mail, sending photos of his registration and plate. Meantime, attorneys said if this happens to you:

  • Never ignore a ticket
  • Find out how to challenge it
  • Send photos of everything, ideally by certified mail to the court 

Even if it's mistaken identity, you're guilty until you prove yourself innocent.

"I had never even actually even heard of this city," Moritz said. 

Bottom line, even if you are in the right, don't ignore these tickets so you don't waste your money.

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