You're supposed to stop at a traffic signal when the light turns red. Failing to do so can lead to a citation that may result in fines and points on your driving record. Defenses may be available to fight your ticket, but building an effective legal strategy requires an in-depth knowledge of the law. Fortunately, you can have a lawyer assist throughout your case.
Understanding Your Obligations at a Traffic Light
When you see a steady red light at traffic lights, you must stop and wait until it turns green before continuing on your way. If the signal is flashing red, you must also stop fully. However, you must yield the right of way as you would at a stop sight and only go when it is safe.
If the light isn't working for some reason, then, as you would at a stop sign, slow down and come to a complete stop. Then, follow the rules of right of way unless a law enforcement officer directs you to keep going.
The Consequences of Failing to Obey a Traffic Light
Failing to obey a traffic light can have serious consequences. If an officer believes that you violated the law, they can issue a citation.
After receiving a red light ticket, your options are to plead guilty and pay the fine assessed or plead not guilty and contest the citation at a hearing. If you challenge the allegations against you and the judge finds you guilty, they will issue a fine. Additionally, 3 points may be added to your driving record. If you have a certain number of points on your record already, you could be at risk of a driver's license suspension or revocation.
Possible defenses to a Red Light Ticket
You can challenge your citation by raising arguments at your hearing. The defenses you mount will depend on the specifics of your case.
That said, below are some ways a red light ticket can be fought:
- Avoid an accident: The individual ran the red light to avoid hitting a pedestrian, vehicle, or object on the road.
- Mechanical failure: The person's brakes failed, and they were unable to stop as required.
- Obstruction: The light might have been blocked by a tree or other object, making it difficult for motorists to see.
- Officer error: The officer might have mistakenly believed that the driver ran a red light.
Tips for Avoiding Red Light Violations
While on the road, obeying traffic signals is essential for keeping yourself and others safe.
Here are helpful tips for avoiding running a red light:
- Use caution: If you're approaching an intersection and see the light change from green to yellow, slow down and stop if it's safe to do so. It's not worth trying to race through before the light turns red.
- Keep your eye on your speed: Make sure you're traveling at the posted speed limit. If you're going too fast, you might not have time to stop before the light turns red.
- Avoid distractions: If you do something, such as texting, that takes your focus off driving, you might not see the light change to red. Stay vigilant behind the wheel.
The Role of a Lawyer in Fighting Your Ticket
Having an attorney on your side to navigate the legal system can be invaluable if you receive a citation. They can help you understand your rights and review your case to develop defense strategies. Whether your matter can be resolved through negotiations or must be set for a hearing, your lawyer can fight to protect your best interests and pursue a favorable outcome.
Schedule a consultation with our New York attorney by calling Martin A. Kron & Associates, P.C. at (212) 235-1525.