Running a red light is a violation of California Vehicle Code Section 21453. Under this statute, you could face consequences ranging from a fine to a revocation of your driving privileges. Additionally, running a red light could lead to an increase in your insurance premiums.
Typically a red light violation will result in a point on your driving record. However, there are ways to avoid this. At the Simmrin Law Group, we have advised countless people charged with running a red light. We can do the same for you during a free case evaluation today.
Defining Red Light Violations
California Vehicle Code 21453 regulates red light violations. According to VC 21453, drivers:
- Must come to a complete stop at all red lights
- Can turn right on circular red lights
- Can turn left on a circular red light if on a one-way road and turning onto another
- Can not turn on a steady red arrow signal
When approaching a red light, drivers must stop before reaching a marked limit line, crosswalk, or the approaching intersection. Turning at a red light is only permitted after coming to a complete stop and if there is no sign indicating that turning is prohibited.
When turning on red, drivers must use caution and yield the right of way to other vehicles using the lane they are turning into and pedestrians crossing the road.
Consequences for Running a Red Light
The possible consequences for running a red light in California include a fine and a point on your driving record.
The fine for running a red light is $100, while the penalty for making an illegal turn on red is $35. It’s important to note that these are only the base traffic fines for a violation. Divers will have to pay more in fees and surcharges.
Receiving a point on your Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) record is the far more severe consequence for many drivers. These points are reported to your insurance provider and can result in an increase in your insurance rates for years.
Your license will also be suspended if you accumulate enough points in a specific time frame. You will receive a six-month suspension of your license if you get:
- Four points within one year
- Six points in a two-year span
- Eight points over three years
Defenses Against a Red Light Ticket
You have options available if you have been ticketed for a red light violation under VC 21453. There are many defenses that can be used against a red light ticket, including:
- The red light was hidden or blocked from the view of the driver
- The officer was mistaken in their belief that the driver did not stop at the light
- The driver failed to stop or made an illegal stop due to an emergency or to avoid a crash
A traffic ticket lawyer can help to build these defenses. Traffic violation lawyers are experienced in defending their clients against these tickets. They will likely be able to build a much stronger case than you could make on your own.
If you hire a lawyer, they can also go to traffic court in your place.
Attending Traffic School
Drivers are not required to attend traffic school after receiving a red light ticket. However, it may be in your best interest to do so. If you attend driving school after your ticket, you will still be required to pay your fine, but you can typically avoid any points on your driving record by completing the course.
You can attend traffic school to avoid points on your license from a red light ticket as long as you have a valid driver’s license and drive a non-commercial vehicle.
Are Traffic Camera Tickets Legal?
Traffic cameras are legal in the state of California. However, if you receive a red light ticket issued from a traffic camera, there are many additional ways to fight these tickets. Traffic camera tickets get overturned far more often than tickets issued by police officers.
If you are fighting a traffic camera red light ticket, here are some things to keep in mind which could help you get the ticket thrown out:
- Traffic lights must remain yellow for a certain length of time before changing to red. This time varies from three to five seconds, depending on the speed limit. You can go back to the intersection to time the light if you believe it was too short
- You can also argue that you were not driving if the pictures do not clearly show that you were the one behind the wheel.
- Signs for traffic cameras must be clearly posted. If there was not appropriate signage, you might be able to get the ticket overturned.
- A camera might have malfunctioned and taken a picture when you were not actually running a red light.
- There must be two photos accompanying the ticket that identify both the driver and the vehicle.
Hiring a Traffic Ticket Lawyer in California
If you face a red light ticket under California Vehicle Code 21453, you have options. Contact the Simmrin Law Group today to learn more about how to fight back against a red light ticket.
Give us a call or fill out our easy online contact form to get started with a free case evaluation. We can review the details of your case and advise you of all your legal options.