Texas law § 544.007 prohibits running a red light. In Texas, most criminal offenses, including running a red light, are Class C misdemeanors. They are offenses with serious consequences.
But you have important rights. If you’re charged with disregarding a red light in Texas, it’s important to understand the offense and your options. Our attorneys explain Texas law § 544.007 and charges of running a red light.
Texas Law For Running a Red Light
What is the Texas law for running a red light?
The Texas law for running a red light is Texas Transportation Code § 544.007(d). The law states that a driver must stop at a steady red signal. They must remain stopped until they have an indication to proceed. Running a red light is a Class C misdemeanor in the State of Texas.
What is considered running a red light in Texas?
Entering an intersection while the traffic light is displaying a steady red signal is considered running a red light in Texas. Turning right on red is generally legal unless it is prohibited. Turning left on red is even allowed in some cases if the streets are one-way and the turn is specifically authorized. It’s considered running a red light in Texas when you travel into the intersection with a steady red light and without an indication to proceed.
Where do you have to stop in front of a red light in Texas?
In Texas, you should stop at the clearly marked stop line before the traffic signal. If there is no clearly marked stop line, stop before the cross walk. If there is no crosswalk, stop at the traffic signal.
Can you turn right on red in Houston?
Yes, you can turn right on red in Houston unless it is prohibited. Texas law § 544.007(f) allows the Texas Transportation Commission, a municipal authority or a county authority to prohibit right turn on red. If right turn on red is prohibited, the government agency must post a notice at the intersection.
Penalties for Disregarding a Red Light in Texas
What are the penalties for disregarding a red light in Texas?
Penalties for disregarding a red light in Texas include:
- Class C misdemeanor conviction
- License points
- Insurance premium increases
- Difficulty with employment, college applications, joining the military, volunteering or other opportunities
- Immigration penalties
Some penalties are the same in every case – for every conviction for disregarding a red light, you have a Class C misdemeanor conviction on your criminal record and driving record. The courts impose fines in every case, but the exact amount may vary by jurisdiction. An experienced attorney can help you understand what penalties you are likely to face including how a conviction may impact other aspects of your life.
What is the fine for running a red light in Houston, Texas?
(last updated January, 2020)
How many points is running a red light in Texas?
Running a red light in Texas is two points on a driving record. If the action results in an accident, it is three points on the driving record.
If you accumulate more than six points, you may have to pay a surcharge. Points drop off after a period of time.
Can you get a ticket for running a red light in Texas?
Yes, you can get a ticket for running a red light. Although it may be issued as a traffic citation, running a red light is a Class C misdemeanor offense, like most traffic offenses. The offense is punishable by a fine, and jail time is generally not a possibility unless the defendant receives other charges at the same time.
Red Light Cameras in Texas
Are red light cameras legal in Texas?
Red light cameras are illegal in Texas. The State of Texas banned red light cameras in 2019. Texas law § 707.020 says that a local authority may not implement a photographic traffic signal enforcement system in its jurisdiction. In addition, Texas law § 707.021 prohibits law enforcement form using evidence from photographic traffic signal enforcement systems or issuing a citation based on a recorded image from a red light camera.
Running a Yellow Light in Texas
What happens if you run a yellow light and it turns red?
Some states require a driver to stop for a yellow light if they have time to complete the stop. Other states use a yellow light as only a warning that a light is about to turn red. Whether you can receive a ticket for traveling through a yellow light depends on the law in the state.
In Texas, traffic law § 544.007(e) says a steady yellow signal is a warning that the green light is about to change to red. There should not be a penalty for traveling into an intersection when the light is yellow. The driver must stop before the light turns red.
Is running a yellow light illegal in Texas?
Running a yellow light is not strictly prohibited in Texas. Instead, a yellow light is just a warning that the light is about to change to red. There is no grace period when the light turns red, so a driver should heed the warning to stop for a yellow light in Texas.
How to Fight Running a Red Light in Houston
Can you fight a red light ticket?
Yes, you can fight a red light ticket. You can go to court and have a trial on the charges. The state must present their case, and you can respond. Ultimately, a neutral third party decides whether the charges have merit. To assert your rights, you must attend your court date and plead not guilty. You may have the help of an attorney to fight a red light ticket.
Can you take a red light ticket to trial in Houston?
Yes, you can take a red light ticket to trial in Houston. You have the right to a jury trial, but you may waive that right if you want a judge to decide the case. The state must prove the charges against you beyond a reasonable doubt.
How can an attorney help you with fighting a red light charge?
An attorney for red light charges may provide a range of services:
- Reviewing the statement of the law enforcement officer
- Interviewing witnesses and gathering statements
- Investigating to determine what additional evidence may exist
- Demanding production of dash cam and body cam video records
- Analyzing the evidence against you, what the state must prove and what problems exist with the state’s case; developing a legal strategy to present the strongest defense tailored to your personal needs and goals
- Helping you determine whether to plead guilty, go to trial or request deferred treatment
- Appearing on your behalf at court appearances; speaking to the court
- Asserting your trial rights
- Conducting trial on your behalf; cross-examination of witnesses, arguments to the jury
An experienced attorney for red light ticket defenses can help you respond to the allegations against you in the best possible way. They know what to look for, how to tailor the defense to your goals and how to present the information to the court and to the jury. They put their knowledge and experience to work to fight the charges against you.
Can I get a deferral for running a red light in Houston?
Yes, you may qualify for a deferral for running a red light in Houston. With a deferred disposition, you must waive your right to a trial and pay a fine. After complying with the terms of the deferral, the case is dismissed without a conviction. If you are under the age of 25, you must complete a traffic safety course. Not all convictions apply – you may not hold a CDL, and the offense may not have occurred in a construction zone with workers present.
A deferral may be a good option for your case – but it’s not appropriate in all cases. It’s important to make sure you understand what a deferral can do for you and what the drawbacks are. An experienced attorney for red light ticket defense can help you understand whether a deferral is right for you and how to request it. The deadline to apply for a deferral is short, and you should talk to an attorney right away about your case.
Does running a red light go on your record in Texas?
Running a red light goes on your record in Texas if you’re convicted, if you plead guilty or if you plead no contest. If you are found not guilty, if the charges are dismissed or if you receive deferred treatment, there is no entry into your criminal or traffic record.
Attorneys for Red Light Defense in Texas
If you are facing a red light charge in Houston, Harris County or the surrounding areas, the experienced traffic ticket attorneys at Kubosh Law can represent you. We offer solid defense strategies for a reasonable price that keep your best interests in mind. Call (713) 322-7410 to get started with a free confidential consultation.