If you get caught running a stop sign or red light in Maryland, you’ll typically be looking at a fine and points on your driving record. (You could also choose to fight your ticket or handle it some other way.) 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 stop sign, motorists must generally make a complete stop prior to reaching a clearly marked stop line or 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.
Maryland law allows motorists to make a right turn after stopping at a red light unless there’s a sign indicating the turn is prohibited. But drivers must use caution and follow right-of-way rules when making a right on red.
In Maryland, 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 Maryland, 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 the light has turned red.
Some intersections in Maryland are equipped with automated cameras to catch red-light violators. The owner of the vehicle that’s photographed running the light should receive notice in by mail that includes a copy of the photograph and the time, date, and location of the violation. The jurisdiction issuing the ticket must send the notice within two weeks of the violation.
A vehicle owner might be able to beat a red light ticket by proving at trial:
A red light violation is considered a civil offense. The penalty for a violation can’t exceed $100.
Generally, stop light and stop sign violations are misdemeanors in Maryland. A red light ticket typically carries a $140 fine. And for violations leading to an accident, the fine is increased to $180. Drivers convicted of a stop sign violation are looking at $110 in fines. But if the violation contributed to an accident, the fine is $150 ($750 if the accident involved serious bodily injuries of the death of another person).
A stop sign or light violation will also add demerit points to a motorist’s driving record. Running a red light is two points and a stop sign ticket is one point. Accumulating too many points can lead to license suspension.
Under certain circumstances, running a red light or stop sign can also result in a reckless driving conviction. And if one of these offenses involves the death of another person, vehicular manslaughter charges are another possibility.