How Serious is a Red Light Ticket?

By Kathryn Simmons,

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A red light ticket will cost you money. You will have to pay a fine. It is considered a moving violation, so it will put points on your driving record. This often causes insurance companies to raise rates – or to cancel policies. You may have to take time off from work or school to go to traffic court. Many people think the aftermath of “blowing through” a signal is serious.

To fight a red light ticket call 248-408-7679 now Attorney Kathryn L Simmons offers affordable flat fees to handle various kinds of traffic cases

What Type Of Red Light Ticket Did You Get?
There are four basic variations. Next to each of them on the list below is the impact a violation has on your driving record – and on your insurance record.

  • Running a red light (3 points)
  • Running an amber (yellow) light (3 points)
  • Right turn on red without stopping (3 points)
  • No turn on red (2 points)
  • Each of these carries a fine of $100

In the case of a red light ticket, many people think the points are the most serious consideration, because there can be financial consequences. When you pay the fine by mail, you are pleading guilty and have been convicted of the crime. The points put on your driving record remain there for two years from the date of conviction. Because the impact on their driving record can cause insurance rates to spike, some people choose to hire a lawyer to dispute the charges.

Can Red Light Ticket Points Be Avoided?
You may be eligible to attend one of Michigan’s Basic Driver Improvement Courses (BDIC). Going to “driving school” can only be used once to keep points off your driving record. There are classroom and online versions and there is a fee to sign up. An attorney can advise you on the “traffic school” option and how it can be pursued.

  • Points add up: Michigan charges a “Driver Responsibility Fee” once a driver has seven points. The fee starts at $100 and increases by $50 for each additional point. If someone already has traffic convictions, the Responsibility Fee can make a traffic signal violation more serious.

A Red Light Ticket: What Can An Attorney Do?
A lawyer can also act as a negotiator with the police officer who wrote the ticket. The officer must appear at the court hearing. Prior to the hearing it may be possible to negotiate a plea to a lesser violation. Similar bargaining can go on with the judge. For example, let’s say that it was possible to negotiate for you to plead guilty to the lesser charge of driving in an unsafe manner. This would mean only 2 points. An attorney can advise you on the specifics of your case. If the officer doesn’t show up, a lawyer could get the case dismissed.

If you got a red light ticket, you may also have driven away with an additional citation. Michigan does not have traffic cameras that link to computer-generated ticketing. So you got pulled over. Frequently, an officer may determine that there was an additional violation. Many a traffic stop ends with an officer saying, “I’m also going to cite you for…” A driver may have been cited for not having registration or an insurance card with them. Or a baby seat wasn’t being used properly. It might be possible for an attorney to get a secondary charge dropped in exchange for accepting guilt on the original violation.

Call 248-408-7679 now. Put 20+ years of local legal experience to work for you

Attorney Kathryn L. Simmons offers affordable flat fees for legal services in Lake Orion, Orion Township, Rochester Hills, Oxford, Clarkston, Auburn Hills, Waterford, Pontiac, Bloomfield Hills, Troy, Macomb County and the Oakland County Circuit Court. No attorney or law firm can guarantee the outcome of your case. However, I can provide you with a free evaluation of the details of your case, and suggest a strategy to pursue the best possible outcome.

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