If you get caught running a stop sign or red light in Montana, you'll typically be looking at a fine and points on your driving record. (Of course, you may be able to avoid these penalties by looking into other options for dealing with your ticket.) This article gives an overview of what the law prohibits and some of the specific consequences of a stop sign or red light violation.
At a red light (solid or flashing) or a stop sign, motorists must come to a complete stop prior to the nearest of reaching a limit line, entering the crosswalk at the near side of the intersection, or entering the intersection itself.
Montana law allows motorists to make a right turn after stopping at a red light unless there's a sign indicating the turn is prohibited. However, drivers must use caution and follow right-of-way rules when making a right on red.
In Montana, a motorist can do a left turn after stopping at a red light only from a one-way street onto another one-way street. Of course, motorists need to follow the normal right-of-way rules and proceed with caution when making the turn.
In some states, it's illegal to enter an intersection on a yellow light. However, in Montana, a steady yellow light is just a warning that the light is about to turn red. In other words, you're allowed to enter an intersection while the light is still yellow. It's only if you enter the intersection after the light has turned red that you can be cited for running the light.
Montana law prohibits the use of automated cameras to detect red-light violators.
Generally, stop sign and red light violations are misdemeanors in Montana. The fines for a conviction are:
However, court costs and fees might increase the amount the convicted motorist actually pays.
Additionally, a stop sign or light conviction will generally add two points to a motorist's driving record. Accumulating too many points can lead to license suspension.
Depending on the circumstances, a red light or stop sign violation could also lead to a reckless driving conviction. And if one these offenses result in the death of another person, vehicular homicide charges are also a possibility.