Home / Verdicts & Settlements / Red light violation notice is not a summons, judge rules – Case dismissed

Red light violation notice is not a summons, judge rules – Case dismissed

The defendant was issued a red light camera citation under the PhotoSafe camera program at the intersection of Jefferson Avenue and Oyster Point Road in Newport News. The case was dismissed due to language in authorizing statute (Code § 15.2-968.1(H)) requiring the locality to purge all evidence captured by the camera if a summons is not executed within 10 business days of the offense. Counsel argued and the judge found that the “notice of violation” mailed initially to the owner is not a summons within the meaning of the code, because it does not provide a court date to the accused. Rather, it allows the owner of the vehicle to request a court hearing after viewing the video of the offense online. If the owner requests a hearing, the owner is then mailed a “summons” letter. This letter was dated more than 10 business days after the offense, so the defendant’s motion to strike the evidence pretrial was granted and the case was dismissed.

As a matter of practice, under the current procedures, these summons letters cannot be mailed in less than 10 business days, so a change in the procedures will be required.


Type of action: Red light camera violation civil proceeding
Injuries alleged: $50 civil penalty
Name of case: City of Newport News v. David
Court: Newport News General District Court
Case no.: GT14006304-00
Tried before: Judge
Judge: Gary Mills
Date resolved: May 1, 2014
Verdict or settlement: Case dismissed
Attorneys for defendant: Alex W. West and Nicholas A. Nunes, Newport News

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