A New Jersey driver who runs a stop sign or stop light will likely have to pay a fine. A red light or stop sign violation will also add demerit points to the motorist’s driving record. This article gives an overview of what the law prohibits and some of the specific consequences of a stop sign or red light ticket.
(Also, read about the options for dealing with a traffic citation.)
New Jersey law requires motorists approaching a stop sign or red light (steady or flashing) to make a complete stop. For solid red lights the law says motorists must come to a stop before “entering the intersection or crosswalk.” When approaching a flashing red light, motorists have to stop before “entering or crossing the intersection.” And, at a stop sign, the law specifies drivers need to stop “within five feet of the nearest crosswalk or stop line marked upon the pavement at the near side of the intersecting street.”
Like in most other states, New Jersey law permits drivers to make a right turn after stopping at a red light, unless there’s a sign indicating the turn isn’t allowed. However, drivers need to use caution and follow the normal right-of-way rules when making the turn.
New Jersey is one of the few states that prohibit making a left turn at a red light under all circumstances. Drivers who wish to turn left must wait for the signal to turn green before doing so.
Unlike a number of other states, New Jersey generally requires drivers to stop at a yellow (or amber) light. A driver can go through the yellow light only if so close to the intersection when the light turns yellow that, with suitable brakes, it’s unsafe to make the stop. (A distance of 50 feet from the intersection is considered a safe stopping distance for a speed of 20 miles per hour.)
For a stop sign or red light violation in New Jersey, you’re typically looking at a $50 to $200 fine. However, court costs and assessments can add anywhere from about $12 to $33 to the total you pay. And although it’s not common, up to 15 days in jail is also possible.
Stop sign and stop light violations will add two demerit points (three points if it’s an illegal turn at a red light) to a motorist’s driving record. Accumulating too many points can lead to a surcharge and license suspension. However, eligible motorists can get up to a three-point reduction by completing a driver improvement program.
Depending on the circumstances, a red light or stop sign violation could also lead to a reckless driving conviction. And if a driver runs a red signal or stop sign and causes a fatality, vehicular homicide charges are possible.