Driver forced to pay for evidence in his Chesapeake red-light camera case

Posted at 6:28 PM, Feb 20, 2014
and last updated 2014-02-20 18:28:50-05

Chesapeake, Va. - Larry Richway says he was not the one driving his car, but he still got slapped with a $50 ticket after his Dodge Magnum was caught by a red-light camera at the corner of Greenbrier Parkway and Kempsville Road in Chesapeake.

“I didn’t have the car for three days while they were working on it,” said Richway, who says it was a dealership who had the car, looking into a possible engine problem.

Richway assumes they were out test driving it at the time, to make sure everything was fixed.

“They have no picture of me driving the car, and I have no clue who was driving the car,” said Richway.

Yet now, the burden is on him to prove it in court.

The City of Chesapeake only drops tickets before court in three specific cases.

“If you are not the driver, the paperwork says you have to be transferring the title, renting or leasing the car, or it was stolen,” said Richway. “None of those is what happened!”

At first, Richway was prepared to take his case in front of a judge, but that is before he got a bill from the City of Chesapeake.

$147, for what he considers to be evidence in his case--like any other existing pictures of who might be in the driver’s seat, and any maintenance records for the camera.

“They are saying its legal, but I don’t know how it can be,” said Richway.

According to the City of Chesapeake, Richway's red-light camera case will be in General District Court, where there are no rules for discovery.

If a judge rules against him there, he can appeal the case to Circuit Court, which allows for discovery, and the evidence will be available for free.

For right now, they are considering it a Freedom of Information Act request...which they are allowed to bill for.

“It seems to me they are only doing it for the money, and doesn’t seem right,” said Richway.