Texas Law § 544.010 – Running a Stop Sign
Running a stop sign is prohibited under Texas Law § 544.010. If found guilty, you face a fine, points on your license and increased insurance premiums. You may also face civil penalties if you’re responsible for causing an accident. Understanding Texas stop sign laws may help you defend against the charges and protect your rights.
Texas Stop Sign Laws
What is the Texas law for running a stop sign?
Texas Transportation Code § 544.010 prohibits running a stop sign. A driver approaching a stop sign must stop before the crosswalk or at a clearly marked stop line. If there is no stop line, they must stop as close as possible where they have a view of approaching traffic in the intersection.
Law enforcement may also use Texas Transportation Code § 545.151 to cite a driver for failing to stop and yield the right of way in an intersection.
What are Texas stop sign laws?
Texas stop sign laws say that a person who approaches an intersection with a stop sign must completely stop their vehicle. The vehicle must come to a complete stop before the crosswalk or the stop line. Law enforcement authorities may designate stop signs at entrances to intersections if they think it is necessary for public safety. Stop signs should be placed as close as is practical to the nearest line of the crosswalk.
A person who travels through an intersection without observing the stop sign may be given a traffic ticket; and if an accident occurs, they may be liable for the accident.
Penalties for Running a Stop Sign in Houston
What is the fine for running a stop sign in Houston?
The Houston Municipal Courts assess a fine of $269 for running a stop sign.
(last updated January, 2020)
What are the penalties for running a stop sign in Houston?
The penalties for running a stop sign in Houston include:
- Class C misdemeanor conviction
- Points on your drivers license
- Increased insurance premiums
Do you get points for running a stop sign in Houston?
You get two points on your driving license for running a stop sign in Houston. If the violation causes an accident, you get three points.
Does running a stop sign go on your record in Texas?
Yes, running a stop sign goes on your criminal record and on your driving record in Texas. Like most traffic offenses, it is a Class C misdemeanor. Points remain on your driving record for three years.
Because running a stop sign can impact your employment, college applications, volunteering and other opportunities, it’s important to aggressively fight the allegations. You may have the help of a traffic ticket attorney in Texas.
Does running a stop sign affect your insurance?
Yes, running a stop sign may affect your insurance. The insurance company may raise your premium if they believe you’re more likely to have an accident. If the state dismisses the ticket against you, or if you receive a deferred disposition, the ticket should not appear on your driving record or affect your insurance.
Is running a stop sign eligible for deferred disposition?
In general, running a stop sign is eligible for deferred disposition in traffic court. A driver with a CDL is not eligible for a deferral, however, and there are other factors that may make the driver ineligible. However, if the driver meets all the requirements, they may request deferred disposition for running a stop sign.
Fighting Charges of Running a Stop Sign in Houston
What are my options if I’m charged with running a stop sign in Houston?
If you’re charged with running a stop sign in Houston, you may:
- Plead not guilty and proceed to trial. The state must prove the charges against you beyond a reasonable doubt
- Discuss the charges with the prosecutor to negotiate a plea agreement to lesser charges or ask the prosecutor to dismiss the allegations
- File a preliminary motion challenging constitutional violations in gathering evidence
- Ask the court to award a deferral of the charges. In exchange for giving up your trial rights and paying a fine, you may avoid having the offense appear on your driving and criminal records
How do you beat a no stop sign ticket in Texas?
To beat a no stop sign ticket in Texas, you must assert your right to a hearing. The judge or jury must agree that the state failed to prove its case against you. You may challenge any element of the case, for example, that the officer’s observation was poor and that you stopped in the right place. Things that you can do to beat a no stop sign ticket include:
- Asking for dash cam and body cam video that may show you stopping at the intersection
- Challenging the officer’s point of view and their ability to see
- Questioning whether the officer was distracted by other duties or events happening around them
- Examining the officer’s memory and their recollection of events
- Motioning the court to exclude evidence gathered in violation of your constitutional rights
- Fighting the identification of you as the driver
- Testifying that you stopped correctly
- Pointing out where the state fails to present evidence of any element of the offense
There are several ways to beat a stop sign ticket in Texas. You can attack the charges directly by demanding a trial. If the state can’t prove any of the elements against you, the ticket fails.
In some circumstances, it may be best to work towards a deferral or a plea to reduced charges. When the stop sign ticket comes with other charges, like drunk driving, you may arrange to dispose of the entire case with one plea agreement. It is your right to have a trial on the merits. How you approach a trial and what defenses you use should depend on the exact circumstances of your case. An experienced attorney can help you investigate and decide what to do.
How do you get a stop sign ticket dismissed in Houston?
To get a stop sign ticket dismissed in Houston, the state prosecutor must agree to dismiss the charges, or the court must find the charges without merit. It is up to the state prosecutor whether to proceed with the charges. The court may throw out the charges if they find the state cannot prove you are guilty. In addition, if the court suppresses evidence based on a constitutional violation, it may have the practical effect of getting the ticket dismissed if the state can no longer prove the allegations.
What should I do if I’m charged with running a stop sign?
If you’re charged with running a stop sign, speak with an experienced traffic ticket defense attorney right away. While you may plead not guilty and take your claim to trial, it may be best to take a deferral – and that has a strict deadline to apply. Your attorney can help you review the circumstances, investigate, advise you on what to do, and take the procedural steps to exercise your rights. They are experienced to help you bring an aggressive and personalized defense to the charges.
Running a Stop Sign and Civil Claims in Texas
Running a stop sign may be the basis for a civil lawsuit for a car accident compensation. The State of Texas uses an at-fault system to determine accident liability. Failing to stop at a stop sign is an example of negligence.
If you are accused of running a stop sign and an accident occurs, it is extremely important to speak to an experienced attorney about the traffic ticket. In the civil matter, the opposing party may try to admit evidence of a plea or conviction in the traffic matter. Texas Rules of Evidence Rule 410 prohibits admission of plea negotiations, a plea that is later withdrawn and a no contest plea. As a defendant, it’s critically important to understand when a conviction may be used against you and how it may be used in civil court.
What if running a stop sign causes an accident?
If running a stop sign causes an accident, the offender may be liable for the damages that they cause. There may be multiple parties at fault, and determining appropriate compensation may be complex. If running a stop sign causes an accident, the offender may receive a traffic ticket and be liable for civil compensation. The police determine whether to issue a ticket and other criminal offenses. The victim decides whether to bring a civil claim. They may also file a claim for compensation with the responsible party’s insurance company.
Regardless of the outcome of a ticket hearing, the parties in a civil case may use the criminal matter as an opportunity to gather evidence and review testimony. Be sure to work with a traffic ticket defense attorney to fully understand the ramifications of pleading guilty or going to trial if you’re facing allegations of running a stop sign.
What if you run a stop sign and no one gets hurt?
If you run a stop sign and no one gets hurt, you may receive a traffic citation. There must be damages to a victim for the victim to claim financial compensation. If there is no accident, or if running a stop sign does not cause the accident, there is no basis for a legal civil claim for compensation based on running the stop sign. Negligence must be the cause of an accident with damages for a victim to have a claim.
Attorney for Running a Stop Sign Tickets and Charges in Houston
If you’re charged with running a stop sign in Houston, our attorneys can help you defend your rights. Allegations of running a stop sign may have a significant impact on your future. You must act quickly to determine the best course of action. With our extensive experience in the Houston area, we can help you aggressively fight the ticket and assert your rights for a reasonable fee. Contact us today for your free consultation.