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Fail to Obey a Traffic Light in Fairfax County

Traffic Light in Fairfax County

In Fairfax County it is nearly impossible to drive anywhere without coming across a traffic light.  Virginia Code §46.2-833 has multiple provisions articulating the laws for traffic lights.  Running a red in Fairfax County can be dangerous and it is a common charge.  For DMV purposes, it is a 4-point offense and remains on the driving record for 3 years.  It is punishable by a fine of up to $350.  As a result, to avoid DMV demerit points and increased insurance rates, hiring an attorney can help you avoid these consequences.  We routinely handle these cases in the Fairfax County General District Court, Fairfax City General District Court, Town of Vienna Court, and Town of Herndon Court.  Give us a call at 703-273-4100 or use the contact form and we would be happy to discuss the red light ticket.

Running a Red Light in Fairfax County

In this section we will run through Virginia Code §46.2-833 which governs the laws for traffic lights in Virginia.  Going through a red light is a common charge in Fairfax County.  Running a red light can be benign especially in cases where the light was yellow but turned red suddenly as the person goes through it.  In some cases running a red light can result in an accident at which point the question becomes which vehicle had the right-of-way.  In any case a red light ticket can be easy to resolve or more difficult depending on what happened.  In most cases a run-of-the-mill red light ticket can be reduced to a no-point offense through argument to the Judge.  In accident cases it may be more important to have a trial because red light accident cases tend to be more severe and insurance becomes an issue.  This is why speaking to a traffic attorney that handles traffic light cases is very important.

Green Light:  Other than yielding to other vehicles and pedestrians lawfully within the intersection you must move in the direction of the signal and remain in motion as long as the signal is green.  In fact, the way the statute is written, the driver must be in motion and cannot stop.

Yellow Light (Amber):  Light is about to change (typically from yellow to red) so traffic not yet in the intersection must stop unless it is unsafe to stop.  But if a vehicle is in the intersection then the vehicle must clear the intersection.

Flashing Circular Red Light:  This light is like a stop sign so any traffic must stop at a flashing circular red light.

Flashing Yellow Light (Amber):  Traffic may proceed through the light and intersection cautiously with reasonable care.  But traffic must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and vehicular traffic already in the intersection.

Traffic Light Out-of-Service:  This is when there's a power failure or other event causing the light to malfunction.  In this case a traffic light that is not working should be treated as a stop sign.

Right Turn on Red in Fairfax County

Unless there is a "No Turn on Red" sign, it is legal to make a right turn on red provided a full stop is first made.  It should be noted, however, that a steady red arrow requires a full stop until the light turns green.  Many people come to a Red Light and make a "California Stop" or "Running Stop" to turn right thinking there is no traffic approaching.  However, many people get cited under Virginia Code §46.2-835 in Fairfax because they do not come to a complete stop before making their right turn on red.  This offense is 3-points for DMV purposes and remains on your driving record for 3 years.

You Can Make a Left Turn on Red in Fairfax County (sometimes)

In most cases, a left-turn on red is prohibited in Virginia.  However, Virginia Code §46.2-836 allows a left turn on red after coming to a complete stop if the direction you are going is a one-lane highway.  Many people do not realize this and simply wait for the red light to turn green.  Unless the direction you are going is a one-lane highway, making a left-turn on red is a 3-point offense and remains on your driving record for 3 years.

An Attorney Can Help

We are in traffic court everyday and routinely handle these types of cases.  While traffic light offenses are prepayable, most can be negotiated down to a no-point non-moving violation that won't affect your driving record or insurance rates.  Remember, prepaying is a guilty plea to the charge and points will be assessed accordingly.  Feel free to reach out to us and we would be happy to discuss your case and your available options.  In most cases, we can appear for court on your behalf so that you won't have to miss work or other obligations.  Our aim to make the case as easy as possible for you while achieving your desired outcome.

The truth about your case

We will not “sugar coat.” We will tell you exactly what you are facing and will give you the best and worst case scenarios. We are not here to scare you or to pull the wool over your eyes. We find many people calling us for a simple case where they have spoken to other lawyers and are now afraid. However, after speaking with those people and getting the facts, many times there is nothing to fear. We will tell you how things look and we will tell you the truth because we want happy clients. That’s you!

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