California’s Red Light law Vehicle Code 21453 CVC is the law that describes, in detail, “red light” traffic violations. Within this section, you will find rules that instruct drivers on several things pertaining to red lights, such as:
- The requirement to stop at all red lights
- The ability to make right turns on steady red lights
- The requirement to stop at a steady red arrow
- The ability to make a left turn from a one-way street when at a steady red signal
4 Things to Keep in Mind When It Comes to Running a Red Light
In California, the four essential facts to keep in mind as a driver regarding running a red light or making an illegal turn on a red light are:
- The types of fines and their amounts. Penalties can be anywhere from $35 to over $100. Then you have to take into account court costs, if applicable, and other fees and assessments.
- The accrual of points on your DMV record. By running a red light or even by making an illegal turn, you will gain one negative point on your record. If you receive a certain number of points in an allotted amount of time, you are in jeopardy of receiving negligent operator license suspension.
- 4 points in 12 months
- 6 points in 24 months
- 8 points in 36 months
- Legal representation can be attained to fight any charges if you have been accused of violating this section.
- You can be charged for ignoring a California ticket for violating code VC 21453. Ignoring could result in you being charged for failure to appear and can be charged with a misdemeanor according to Vehicle Code 40508 VC.
When Is it Considered Running a Red Light?
Per CVC 21453, drivers are told to:
- Stop at red lights
- They are allowed to make right turns at steady red lights.
- They are allowed to make left turns at steady red lights.
- Stop at the red arrow light.
Are California Drivers Required to Stop at Red Lights?
According to the statute, motorists are required to stop at red lights completely. They must stop before the nearest:
- Upcoming intersection
- Flagged Limit line
Are California Drivers Allowed to Turn Right at Red Lights?
Yes, according to CVC 21453 (b), the right turn on red is allowed following a complete stop at a steady red light unless there is a posted sign stating the turn would be prohibited.
Keep in mind that when executing a right turn on red, one must yield to pedestrians who have the right of way.
This speaks to circular red lights only. Red arrows are not treated the same.
Are California Drivers Allowed to Make Left Turns at Red Lights?
Yes, according to CVC 21453, motorists are allowed to turn left following a complete stop at a steady red light. However, this applies only when turning from a one-way street to another.
Drivers must remember that pedestrians have the right of way and must yield to pedestrians and use caution when executing the left turn.
Challenging a Vehicle Code 21453 CVC Violation
Today, in California and many other states, red light cameras are used to catch those not adhering to the rules. In the event that you received a violation of vehicle code 21453 based on a red-light camera, you have the right to challenge the violation. However, you will want to consult with an experienced attorney before doing so.
The Most Common Defenses
Drivers do not always agree with the violations they receive. Often, drivers defend their actions with these common defenses:
- The placement of the red light. Claims that the light was not in plain view
- Unforeseen circumstances such as a medical emergency or the need to avoid an accident
- A mistake on the officer’s part. Claiming innocence by denying the violation ever happened
Red Light Camera Tickets
California is a state that permits the use of red light cameras stationed at intersections to catch drivers running red lights. The driver can challenge the ticket when a camera is used to detect the alleged offense.
Red light cameras are moving violations and go against your DMV record; because of this, you can challenge the violation and say it was not yourself operating your vehicle at the time. This is the most common defense.
Is an Attorney Necessary?
It is recommended to attain an attorney who is well versed in California laws to help you navigate the process and ensure you are not forfeiting any of your rights. The three main reasons it is beneficial to hire an attorney are:
- The ability to skip court. When being represented by a defense attorney, you are not required to appear in court.
- It is the attorney’s expertise to get charges lessened and even dismissed. Something that you may not be able to achieve on your own.
- Prosecutors often give favor in the form of better deals when defendants have attorneys.
The possible penalties and consequences of not having an attorney include:
- A tarnished DMV record due to accumulating points on DMV record
- Being responsible for high fines
Does a Violation Require Traffic School?
Traffic school is NOT required following receiving a violation. You may, however, choose to go to traffic school to avoid a point on your DMV record. The driver will still be responsible financially for the violation and will be expected to pay the fine.
Traffic school is only possible if the following are true:
- You hold a valid driver’s license
- You were operating a non-commercial vehicle at the time of the violation
- Your violation was specific to a moving violation (cannot be a parking ticket)
If you or someone you know have received a traffic violation and are in need of a traffic attorney, do not hesitate to get in touch with our traffic attorneys today for a free consultation.