5 Facts About Red Light Tickets in California

red light ticket

Running a red light in California can result in a fine and demerit points on your driving record. Many areas around California now have red-light cameras in place to catch lawbreakers. When you receive one of these red light camera tickets, it's critical that you answer appropriately and quickly.

Here are five things you should know about California red light camera tickets so you can be prepared if you get one.

The majority of red light cameras are operated by third parties.

Outside companies, not the city, install and operate the bulk of red light camera systems in California. As a result, these businesses are compelled to issue tickets to drivers. Vehicle owners may receive unjustified tickets because they are contractually compelled to achieve a minimum number of recorded offenses.

Sensors cause red light camera tickets to be issued.

When a vehicle passes over a sensor when the light is red in an intersection in Los Angeles and most other cities in California, a red-light ticket is issued. The camera then takes a picture of the vehicle's license plate as well as the driver's. Because the camera flashes will go off as you travel through the intersection, you may see that you've been caught running a red light by a camera. A traffic ticket will be mailed to the vehicle's registered owner. The fine amount, visual proof, a copy of the traffic citation, and information on how to dispute the ticket will all be included with the ticket.

Fines for Red Light Camera Tickets

A driver's fines for traffic offenses in California include a base fine plus a range of fees and surcharges, which can significantly increase the total fine amount. The fines and surcharges vary, but you should expect the base fine to be the common starting point.  The base fine for this infraction is $100, but the total increases with additional court costs depending on the county.

The following are the base fines in California for infractions of stoplights and stop signs:
  • Running right through a solid or flashing red light will get you $450-$500 for running red lights.
  • Making an unlawful right turn at a red light costs $250
  • The average fine for rolling through a stop sign is $250 in California. 
Points for Red Light Camera Tickets & Other Consequences

Californians should be informed that, in addition to the fines connected with stoplight and stop sign infractions, each of these will result in one point being added to their driving records. A license suspension can result from accumulating too many points. Fortunately, completing a course at a California traffic school can help you avoid a red light violation.

Drivers should also be aware that, depending on the circumstances of the offense, a red light or stop sign violation could result in a reckless driving conviction. In the worst-case scenario, a driver could be charged with vehicular manslaughter if one of these violations results in the death of another person.

Your Red Light Camera Ticket Might Be Reduced, Dismissed, or Ignored

You should be aware of the following critical red light ticket factors:

Some red-light tickets are issued by mistake, such as when you make a right-hand turn on red without first coming to a complete stop.

You may be able to keep points off your record or seek to have the fine reduced depending on the type of infraction. To find out, contact someone who knows, such as an attorney or an online traffic school.

According to California law, a citation for a red light camera infraction can only be issued if the driver and license plate are clearly visible.  If you are not the driver of the vehicle in the red light ticket you can ignore the ticket. Read about snitch tickets

Not all red light camera tickets require you to take action or come with consequences if you don't pay the fine.

If you receive a red light camera ticket in California, the first line of defense is to get knowledgeable.