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What happens to those accused of running a red light?

On Behalf of | Oct 18, 2023 | Traffic tickets

Many of the traffic citations issued in North Carolina can seem more like a fundraising effort for local police departments than a real safety concern for the public. People generally get tickets for getting caught violating the law, not necessarily because they caused harm to anyone else.

While police officers do issue citations after crashes and in response to major violations, many tickets stem from a minor, technical violation of state law. For example, police officers and local police departments can issue citations for someone running a red light. An officer does not even need to witness the infraction in some cases. Raleigh is one of the jurisdictions in the state that currently utilize red light cameras for the purposes of traffic law enforcement.

What can someone expect when accused of running a red light?

There are fines and other consequences

When compared with more serious traffic violations, such as reckless driving, running a red light may not seem very concerning. Especially when there wasn’t anyone else nearby or when the light turned red during the driver’s approach, it may not seem like a major safety issue.

In theory, the penalties assessed for a red-light ticket align with the popular perception of such infractions. The penalties may seem minor. The fine for a ticket written for running a red light is just $100. The state will also add three points to the driver’s record. However, those three points could potentially lead to licensing consequences for the driver. Additionally, even a minor traffic ticket will lead to a noticeable increase in what someone pays for motor vehicle liability insurance.

It is possible for those accused of running a red light in North Carolina to defend against those allegations. Successfully fighting a ticket will protect someone both from the fines the state can assess and also the multi-year hike in insurance costs they would probably face. There are different defense strategies available depending on whether someone received a ticket from a police officer or as a result of a red-light camera.

Mounting a thoughtful response to a recent traffic citation can help someone avoid lasting consequences for a seemingly minor violation. Seeking legal guidance can be helpful in this regard.