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Red Light Violations

Green means, “Go.” Yellow means, “Slow Down.” Red means, “Stop.”

It’s one of the first and most basic rules of the road, and most of us learn it long before we ever get behind the wheel. Still, red light violations in Florida are among the most commonly-ticketed offenses in the Sunshine State. Same with running a stop sign.

F.S. 316.075 dictates traffic control devices and the expectations of motorists who encounter them.

Sometimes, drivers run red lights because they are impatient. Other times, they are distracted. In some situations, traffic conditions may have prevented them from clearly seeing the color of the light.

At The Ansara Law Firm, our Fort Lauderdale red light violations attorneys advocate fighting your red light traffic ticket when it’s in your best interest to do so. When is that? Almost always.

What Constitutes Running a Red Light?

The simplest answer is: It depends.

When you are approaching an intersection, your vehicle has to come to a complete stop at the white limit or marked line that is on the road prior to the red light. If there isn’t any limit line, the driver must then come to a complete stop at the entrance of the intersection or crossing.

Florida does allow drivers to turn right on right – assuming there is no sign prohibiting this action and that it’s safe to do so, given the circumstances. However, the driver must first come to a complete stop before making that turn. F.S. 316.075 requires drivers to stop completely at red lights. A steady red indication means facing vehicular traffic has to stop before entering the intersection to make a right turn – meaning no rolling right turns allowed.

Further, drivers may be prohibited from turning on red when there is a sign that clearly states, “NO TURN ON RED.”

If a driver is making a left turn, he or she has to wait until the light turns green. However, there is an exception for drivers making a left-turn onto a one-way street. In that case, the driver still needs to stop and yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and other traffic. But then, assuming it’s safe, he or she can turn left on red.

It’s also worth pointing out: It isn’t illegal to deliberately drive through a yellow light. That signal indicates that drivers have been warned the light will soon turn red. So long as your vehicle is in the intersection or past the crosswalk/ limit line before the light turns red, you are not in violation of the law.

What Constitutes Running a Stop Sign?

The rules for stop signs and stop lights are very similar. Any vehicle approaching a stop sign must come to a complete stop at the limit line or at the marked line that is present prior to the stop sign. When there isn’t a limit line, the driver has to come to a complete stop at the intersection.

Penalties for Running a Red Light/ Running a Stop Sign

Police agencies tend to regularly hand out tickets for these infractions because:

  1. They are seen as essential to protecting motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians;
  2. They can be quite lucrative.

Some cities have even outsourced some of this work to outside firms that have installed the controversial “red light cameras.”

Red light camera violators are going to be fined $158.

However, red light violators who breeze through a stop sign or traffic signal and are pulled over and cited by a law enforcement agent could face between $125 to $200.

Another difference is that while running a red light or running a stop sign will result in 3 points assessed on one’s license, there are no points assessed for red light camera violations.

Defenses for Running a Red Light/ Running a Stop Sign

There are a number of possible defenses our Fort Lauderdale traffic ticket attorneys may be able to employ to have the ticket dismissed.

Some of those include:

  • Officer did not see your full stop. A lot of times, officers conducting traffic control will park across the line so as to remain at least partially hidden from violators. Depending on the officer’s positioning, it’s possible he or she won’t be able to see if a driver has come to a complete stop a few feet behind the limit line. If you know you stopped prior to receiving the citation, you’ll want to have your attorney investigate where the officer was parked.
  • Traffic signal was recently installed. If you regularly travel a certain road and one day, there is suddenly a traffic control signal there, it’s something most motorists aren’t expecting. It would be easy to miss. In any violation, prosecutors have to show the offense was committed with willfulness or carelessness. In these instances, the judge might find you not guilty if you didn’t realize the signal had just been installed or you didn’t see it until it was too late.
  • You were unable to see the stop sign or red light. Let’s say there is foliage that blocks your view of the traffic light. Or let’s say there is graffiti that covers the stop sign and obscures its typically bright red color. Photographic evidence of this can be used to find your violations was neither criminally negligent or willful.
  • Unnoticeable limit line . If the limit line of the intersection is faded and cracked from years of neglect, it may be possible to argue you stopped in front of it – rather than behind it – because you honestly didn’t notice it until you were almost into the intersection.

If you have been cited for running a red light or stop sign, we can help.

Contact the experienced Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyers at The Ansara Law Firm by calling (954) 761-4011 or toll-free at (954) 761-4011.

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