What are the penalties for running a red light in California?
What are the penalties for running a red light in California?
Running a red light or stop sign in California can come with some hefty fines and penalties. You may be given a traffic ticket if a law enforcement officer pulls you over or if a camera captures your vehicle moving through a red light. If you receive a red light ticket in California, you can either pay the ticket or attempt to fight it, the latter of which could be the preferred option if you’re facing severe penalties.
How to React During a Yellow Light
While some states have laws against entering an intersection when the light is yellow, California considers yellow lights to be simple warnings of an approaching red light, which means that you can enter an intersection while the light is yellow. If the light turns red immediately when you enter the intersection, you could be ticketed by an officer or receive a red light camera ticket in the mail.
Possible Consequences from Running a Red Light
While running a red light comes with significant financial penalties that you’ll be tasked with paying, it can also have negative consequences because of how dangerous it is to make this kind of mistake. Suppose you run a red light at a relatively busy intersection. In that case, you face the possibility of a car accident, which could result in injuries or death for anyone involved in the accident.
When you run a red light, you will automatically be held responsible for vehicle damage and any medical bills that arise from the accident. Even if your insurance provider covers most of these costs, there’s a good chance that your monthly car insurance bill will increase.

Penalties for Running a Red Light in California
If you run a red light or stop sign in California, there are several different penalties that you’ll need to contend with. The severity of these penalties largely depends on your driving record and the type of violation that occurs. Every traffic violation in California has a base fine that’s attached to it. Along with the base fine, some surcharges and fees will drive up your costs. The standard penalties for a stop sign or stop light violation include:
  • $35 if you run a stop sign
  • $35 when you turn right at a stop sign when it’s prohibited to do so
  • $100 if you run through a flashing or solid red light
This kind of traffic violation will also cause one point to be added to your driving record. If too many points are added to your driving record, law enforcement might temporarily suspend your license. Traffic violations like reckless driving and a DUI count as two points against your driving record. Before authorities suspend your license, you’ll receive two warning letters.
The first warning letter is issued if you acquire two points in one year, four in two years, or six in three years. 
Law enforcement will send a second warning letter if you receive a total of three points in one year, five points in two years, or seven points in three years. 
The second warning letter will state that any additional points will lead to a license suspension. License suspensions can last anywhere from 6-12 months. In certain circumstances, it’s possible to be charged with reckless driving if you run a red light, which comes with significantly higher fines and penalties.