This scenario was initially specific to the state of California, but with the expansion of ticket cameras into Arizona, the same scheme has surfaced there as well.
If your red light camera "ticket" does not have the full address and phone number of the Court on it, or if it says, "Do not contact the court," it's most likely not really a ticket at all and you may be able to just ignore it.
View A Sample Fake Ticket Here:
Why Does This Happen?
In some towns the police are going to great lengths to get registered owners to identify who was driving their car. A typical red-light camera contract (Inglewood's), signed before 2004, requires the city to pay the camera vendor (ex. Redflex) approx. $90 for each real ticket that the vendor prints and mails. This is true whether or not the the city collects any fine money.
When the police are first processing the photos and they see that the face photo is obviously not the registered owner, or that it is of such poor quality that it would probably not be accepted by a judge as proof of who the driver was, they sometimes send the registered owner a notice or "fake ticket" - which the City doesn't have to pay the vendor for. Sending you the fake ticket is an attempt by the police to get you to identify the driver, thus providing the proof they need. After the driver is identified, the city can be sure that it will get revenue back when it sends out the ticket.
For an extensive discussion of this subject, visit this link:
It's all about the money - YOURS!
The NMA opposes the use of red light cameras and proposes engineering solutions as the real fix for intersections with high accident rates.