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