California Red Light Camera Ticket Facts

California red light camera and sign

Running a stop sign or red light in California usually results 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.

1. 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. 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.

2.  Red light cameras are operated by companies operating outside of California 

Outside corporations, 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.

3.  What is the fine for running a photo enforced red light in California? 

The amount of fines a driver has to pay for California traffic violations include a base fine plus a number of fees and surcharges, which can substantially increase the total fine amount. The fees and surcharges are a variable, but you can count on the base fine as the standard starting point.  

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 $490 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. 

4.  Do I get any points for a red light camera violation in California? 

Californians should be informed that, in addition to the fines connected with stop light 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.

5.  Can I get the ticket dismissed, lowered, or ignore the citation received in the mail? 

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 also not be the driver of the vehicle
  • 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.
  • 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 become knowledgeable.