Red Light and Stop Sign Tickets in New Mexico

Learn about New Mexico’s red light and stop sign laws and the consequences of a violation.

New Mexico drivers who run a stop sign or stop light will likely have to pay a fine. And a red light or stop sign violation will also add demerit points to a motorist’s driving record. This article gives an outline of what the law says and some of the specific consequences of a stop sign or red light ticket.

(Also, read about the ways of dealing with traffic citations.)

Making the Stop

Generally, when approaching a stop sign or stop light (whether solid or flashing red), drivers must come to a complete stop prior to the nearest of entering the crosswalk at the nearest side of the intersection, reaching a marked stop line, or entering the intersection itself.

Right-On-Red Rule

As long as there’s no sign prohibiting it, New Mexico law permits drivers to make a right turn after stopping at a red light. However, drivers need to use caution and follow the normal right-of-way rules when making a right on red.

Left-on-Red Rule

New Mexico law permits motorists to make a left turn after stopping at a red light only from a one-way street onto another one-way street, provided there’s a sign prohibiting such a turn. Of course, motorists have to follow right-of-way rules and proceed with caution when making the turn.

Meaning of a Yellow Light

In some states, it’s illegal to enter an intersection if the light is yellow. In New Mexico, however, a solid yellow light is just a warning that the light is about to turn red. In other words, you can enter an intersection while the light is still yellow, just not after it has turned red.

Red Light Cameras

New Mexico law permits jurisdictions within the state to use automated cameras at intersections to catch red light violators. However, jurisdictions that use red light cameras must install signs and yellow flashing beacons or rumble strips to warn drivers that cameras are operating at the intersection.

(Read about how red light cameras work and fighting a red light camera ticket.)

Fines and Points for Violations

Generally, stop sign and red light violations are misdemeanors in New Mexico. The “penalty assessment” for a stop sign or stop light ticket is just $10. But there are typically a number of other assessments and fees that substantially increase the amount the convicted motorist actually has to pay.

A stop sign or red light conviction will add three demerit points to a motorist’s driving record. A driver who accumulates seven or more points within a year faces license suspension. However, in certain circumstances, the driver might be able to get a “limited license” during the suspension period for driving to and from places like work and school.

Depending on the circumstances, a red light or stop sign violation could also lead to a reckless driving conviction. And a driver who runs a red signal or stop sign and causes a fatality may face vehicular homicide charges.


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