Last Updated: 12.21.2020

Continuing our Traffic Lawyer Series where we break down the exact charges you may face and what the State must prove for you to be guilty. Here we are breaking down the charges for a red light ticket.

For our first post, click here: Driving without a license.  Also, Check out Driving on Suspended or Revoked License.

Now, we look at Running a Red Light.

Failure to Stop at a Red Light in Maryland

So you found yourself with a ticket for running a red light. Be it by a red light camera or you were pulled over by an officer, you’ll want to better understand the law.

Failure to stop at red light

21-202 Failure to Stop at a Red Light

According to Maryland Transportation Article 21-202, you are guilty of Failure to Stop at a Red Light if there is a steady red traffic signal and you do not stop at a clearly marked line.

If there is no clearly marked stop line you must stop before entering any crosswalk. If there is no crosswalk, then before entering the intersection.

You must remain stopped until a signal to proceed is shown unless:

  1. There is no sign prohibiting you from making a right turn or a left turn from a one-way street onto a one-way street; or
  2. There is a sign permitting any other turn is in place and you cautiously enter the intersection and make the turn indicated by the sign.

In each instance, vehicular traffic shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian or bicycle lawfully within an adjacent crosswalk. As well as to any vehicle in the intersection or approaching on another roadway so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard.

Red Light Ticket Points, Penalties, and Fines in Maryland

If no accident is involved, Failure to Stop at a Red Light carries 2 points, $140.00 fine.

However, if an accident is involved it is 3 points and a $180.00 fine.

Keep in mind accumulating too many points can lead to license suspension.

There are also circumstances where running a red light can also end up in a reckless driving conviction.

How to Get a Red Light Ticket Dismissed in Maryland

You may not get the outcome you desire when you appear in court to fight a red light ticket.

If that happens you should request. Then you should contact an experienced traffic lawyer to represent and work with you.

Some defenses your lawyer can use (if applicable):

Challenge the position of the officer

The position of the officer himself may be in question he/she could not see the traffic signal in a manner to correctly identify the light’s status.

You crossed the intersection for safety reasons after the light has changed

If you were threatened by slick roads or a tailgate this may help. This defense can be supported by your lawyer with witness testimony or photographs of the scene.

Your view was obstructed

Large vehicles in front of your car may have blocked your view of the traffic light. It may be the case that you were past the traffic signal before you were able to see the red light.

You crossed the red light because of an emergency situation

On occasion, an emergency situation may require you to go through a red light. Such as to clear a path to let an ambulance to get through.

That said it is not very often that an emergency situation will provide you with a good defense for a failure to stop at a red light. Most likely an officer would be aware if there was such an emergency. So you would not have been issued the ticket to begin with.

How to get a red light camera ticket dismissed in Maryland

How to Get a Red Light Camera Dismissed

There are automated camera intersections that are used to catch red-light violations in Maryland.

The camera photograph your vehicle running the red light. You then get a notice by mail. The notice will include:

  • a copy of the photograph of the red light violation
  • the time and date of the violation
  • the location you ran the red light

You must receive the violation notice within 2 weeks of the violation from the jurisdiction issuing the red light ticket.

You may be able to have a red light camera ticket dismissed by proving at trial:

  • That you were not the person driving the vehicle when the violation occurred.
  • That you were part of a funeral procession when you ran the red light.
  • That running the red light was required to make way for an emergency vehicle

These are your best chances to get a red light camera ticket dismissed.

The Bottom Line if You Have a Red Light Ticket in Maryland

If you find yourself charged with a red light ticket, you won’t go to jail. Unless it is tied to another incarcerable traffic charge. However, you could experience increased costs for your insurance. You could end up in driving school if already have points on your license.

There are, however, a number of good defenses and factors that can reduce your charge of failure to stop at a red light.

That’s why it’s so vitally important to keep your favorite Baltimore Criminal Lawyer’s number handy!