Red Light Ticket on a Yellow: How to Fight It

Perhaps you have recently been stopped by a police officer and issued a citation for running a red light, even though you are absolutely sure you had a yellow signal when you went through the intersection. Rather than simply paying your ticket--and running the risk of having your insurance premiums increase, consider fighting the ticket, and even hiring an attorney to help you in this endeavor. The final tab may end up being less than if you simply grit your teeth and send in a check. There are several things you should be aware of once you decide to fight your red light ticket on a yellow.

General Strategies for Fighting a Traffic Ticket

In some states you may not have a difficult time challenging the police officer's view on what happened regarding your red light ticket. Keep in mind that the officer's view of whether or not--and how--you violated the law is a pretty subjective thing. You may argue in many cases that your actions were safe and responsible when considering the surrounding facts, conditions and traffic involved. In other words, if you had slammed on your brakes when you saw the yellow light, would you have run the risk of being rear-ended and causing a much more serious accident? You may also be able to show that the officer was not in an ideal location to truly see what happened in your specific case. You may need to convince the judge that the police officer's observations were not correct--although the guy with the badge generally wins, you may be able to raise some serious reasonable doubt. If you can prove that your conduct was reasonable and necessary, and, in fact, avoided further harm (avoided causing a more serious accident) then you may be able to have the ticket dismissed.

Strategies Specific to Your Red Light Ticket

When fighting this specific ticket, you need to be aware of what is known as the yellow clearance time. If the traffic signal is set in such a way that the yellow clearance time does not meet the minimum amounts of time stated as necessary in your particular jurisdiction, then you may have grounds to dismiss your red light ticket. If you are able to prove that the yellow light is set much too low, and is, in fact, dangerous to drivers and could conceivably cause accidents, the judge may dismiss your ticket.

How an Attorney Can Help

Though it may seem like it could not possibly be necessary--or cost effective--to hire an attorney for a simple red light ticket, you should probably do the math before making a decision. An experienced attorney can fight your ticket much more effectively as he will have the necessary tools and knowledge to do so. The rise in your insurance premiums may very well be sufficient cause to fight the ticket.

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