If you get caught running a stop sign or red light in Colorado, you’ll likely face fines and demerit points on your driving record. This article gives an overview of what the law prohibits and some specific consequences of a stop sign or red light violation.
(Also, read about the options for dealing with a traffic citation.)
At a red light (solid or flashing) or stop sign, motorists must make a complete stop at a clearly marked stop line or before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection. And if there is no stop line or crosswalk, the driver needs to stop before entering the intersection itself.
Colorado 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, before turning, the driver must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and other traffic lawfully using the intersection.
In Colorado, motorists are allowed to make a left turn from a one-way street onto another one-way street after stopping at a red light, provided there’s no sign prohibiting such a turn. As with making a right on red, the driver must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and other traffic lawfully in the intersection before turn left at a red light.
In Colorado, a steady yellow light is 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. But if you enter the intersection after the light has turned red, you can be cited for running the light.
Colorado law permits the use of automated cameras (also called “automated vehicle identification systems” or “AVIS” for short) to cite drivers who run red lights. However, jurisdictions that use these cameras must post signs indicating to the public that automated cameras are being used at the intersection.
Motorists who get caught running a light by a red light camera will generally receive a notice of the violation in the mail. The jurisdiction employing the automated camera is required to give this notice within 90 days of the violation.
Registered owners can avoid having to pay a red light camera ticket by proving they weren’t behind the wheel at the time of the violation. Such proof doesn’t necessarily mean snitching on the actual driver. For instance, the owner could present evidence of being in a different location when the violation occurred.
Stop sign and red light violations are class A traffic infractions in Colorado. Stop sign violations carry a $70 fine and $10 surcharge ($80 total). A driver who’s convicted of running a red light generally faces a $100 fine and $10 surcharged ($110 total). But the maximum fine for a red light camera ticket is $75.
A stop sign or red light violation will generally add four points to a motorist’s driving record. (Red light camera tickets don’t result in any points.) Accumulating too many points can lead to license suspension.
Depending on the circumstances, a red light or stop sign violation could also result in a reckless driving conviction. And when one of these violations leads to the death of another person, vehicular homicide charges are another possibility.