If you get caught running a stop sign or red light in Georgia, you'll typically be looking at a fine and 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.
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 marked limit line, entering the crosswalk at the near side of the intersection, or entering the intersection itself.
Georgia law allows motorists to make a right turn after stopping at a red light, provided there's no sign prohibiting it. However, drivers must use caution and follow right-of-way rules when making a right on red.
In Georgia, 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 Georgia, 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, just not after it has turned red.
Georgia law allows the use of automated cameras at intersections to catch red-light violators. However, the state imposes certain requirements on jurisdictions that use red-light cameras, including:
A vehicular owner may be able to avoid having to pay the ticket by proving to the court that someone else was operating the vehicle when the violation occurred.
Generally, stop sign and red light violations are misdemeanors in Georgia. The maximum punishment for a misdemeanor is $1,000 and/or up to 12 months in jail. But, generally, judges don't impose jail time for these types of traffic violations. Normally, a motorist who's convicted of a red light or stop sign violation is looking at fines in the ballpark of $200 to $250.
A stop light or stop sign conviction will usually add three demerit points to a motorist's driving record. Accumulating too many points can lead to license suspension. However, by completing a defensive driving course, a motorist might be able to get a seven-point reduction.
Red light camera tickets are treated differently than other traffic violations. First, a red light camera ticket is considered a civil violation—not a misdemeanor. Second, the maximum fine for a red light camera ticket is $70 and the violation won't add points to the motorist's driving record.
But if you don't want to admit fault for a violation, you may have other options for dealing with your ticket.
Depending on the situation, a red light or stop sign violation could also lead to a reckless driving conviction. And if one of these violations lead to a fatality, vehicular homicide charge are another possibility.