The Truth about “Snitch Tickets”

Today we received a very interesting e-mail from Jim, editor of, asking us to share a warning with you about “Snitch Tickets” – fake tickets issued for red light violations asking you to confirm (snitch on) the registered owner of the vehicle. Here is the page with more info and pictures.

As we read and discussed this tricky little scam, we realized one of our own Cop Watch agents received one of these snitch tickets last year after a day trip to Ventura, but luckily left it unsigned and ingnored. The Fifth Amendment protects us from self-incrimination, and this is a perfect example of why we need this amendment.

The Supreme Court has held that “a witness may have a reasonable fear of prosecution and yet be innocent of any wrongdoing. The privilege serves to protect the innocent who otherwise might be ensnared by ambiguous circumstances.”

In his e-mail, Jim also included these preventative measures:

Preventive measures:

1. The 2012 legislation season is well under way in Sacramento and there is a terrible bill (SB 1303) for us to oppose – strongly! NOW is the time for you to call your state senator, your assemblyperson, the governor, and your auto club. See the details at the top of the Action/Legis page.

2. Warn your California and Arizona friends about Snitch Tickets. They’re sneakily different from a REAL red light camera ticket! Read about them on the Your Ticket page, at

3. There is a very practical reason not to shop any more in red light towns! In the questionnaire on my website, I ask defendants how often they have been at the intersection where they got their ticket. While the majority of defendants were caught at intersections they had not visited previously, a substantial portion were caught at an intersection they were very familiar with. Conclusion: You are not safe from getting a ticket – or getting in an accident – simply because you know there’s a camera there. It is necessary to change your routine, to eliminate repeated visits to the intersection. (It’s like playing with snakes – no matter how careful you try to be, eventually they will catch you off guard, and you will get bit.) The small amount of money you have saved at the big box discount store in that town will be more than offset by the cost of tickets, rearending someone, or being rearended.

4. Watch out for lowered speed limits – which will in turn allow cities to shorten yellows. In 2011 Gov. Brown signed AB 529, which allows cities to reduce posted speeds by 5 mph, even on streets with a great safety record. I am suggesting that the yellows shortened as a result of AB 529 be named “Gatto Yellows” in honor of the author of the bill. See the Action/Legis page for more info.


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