Red Light and Stop Sign Tickets in Minnesota

Read about Minnesota’s red light and stop sign laws and the costs of a violation.

If you get caught running a stop sign or red light in Minnesota, you'll typically be looking at a fine. (Though there may be options that don't involve paying a fine.) This article gives an overview of what the law prohibits and some of the specific consequences of a stop sign or red light violation.

Making the Stop

At a red light (solid or flashing) or a stop sign, motorists must come to a complete stop prior to nearest of reaching a marked limit line, entering the crosswalk at the near side of the intersection, or entering the intersection itself.

Right-On-Red Rule

Minnesota 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.

Left-on-Red Rule

In Minnesota, 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.

Meaning of a Yellow Light

In some states, it's illegal to enter an intersection on a yellow light. However, in Minnesota, 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.

Special Rules for Motorcycles and Bicycles

Motorcyclists and bicyclists who get ticketed for running a red light can establish a complete defense by proving:

  • they made a complete stop
  • the signal continued to show red for an "unreasonable time"
  • the signal apparently malfunctioned or failed to detect the bicycle or motorcycle, and
  • no vehicle or pedestrian was approaching or close enough so as to make going through the red signal dangerous.

But, again, it's the motorcyclist or bicyclist who must prove the defense.


Generally, stop sign and red light violations are petty misdemeanors in Minnesota. Petty misdemeanors carry up to $300 in fines. However, surcharges can increase the amount the driver actually pays.

Depending on the situation, a red light or stop sign violation can also lead to a reckless driving conviction. And when one of these violations results in the death of another person, vehicular homicide charges are another possibility.

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