Stop signs are there for our safety, but almost 2,000 traffic accidents happen every day at intersections with stop signs. People make mistakes on the road, and as clear as stop signs are, drivers sometimes run them by accident.
It’s well known that it’s illegal to run a stop sign, but if it happens to you, that doesn’t mean you should panic. The penalty for a stop sign violation can vary depending on several factors, and knowing what these factors are will help you determine what kind of ticket penalty you might receive.
Keep reading through this guide for a breakdown of stop sign tickets so you can get a better idea of what to expect.
What Constitutes as Running a Stop Sign?
The first thing you need to understand is what it actually means to run a stop light. Florida traffic laws dictate that any motor vehicle approaching a stop sign must come to a complete stop at the limit line. This is the marked line on the ground just before the sign.
Some stop signs don’t have limit lines. In such cases, drivers must stop before the crosswalk marking or at the intersection’s entrance.
In Florida, running a stop sign is considered a noncriminal traffic violation, and is punishable as a moving violation. Many people think running a stop sign isn’t a big deal, but if you receive a ticket for doing so, you could face some severe consequences. This is especially true if you do it multiple times or have any other violations like reckless driving or a DUI.
Penalties for a Stop Sign Violation in Florida
If you do accidentally run a stop sign, your first thought might be “What’s the penalty for this?” Well, it can vary depending on the situation, and there are different types of penalties you could receive.
Stop Sign Ticket Fees
Stop sign violations are detailed in Florida Statute 316.123. You can take a deep dive into this statute, but it can quickly become very complicated.
In most cases, a driver can expect to pay somewhere between $50 and $200 for a stop sign violation. The penalty will typically be higher if the stop sign you run is in a construction or school zone as people are expected to drive more cautiously in these areas. You could also receive a more expensive citation if a police officer issues you with a failure to wear a seatbelt ticket or a violation or right-of-way ticket.
Once you receive the ticket, you’ll need to pay it within 30 days. You can go online straight away to pay it, but bear in mind that doing so will be admitting guilt. If you want to contest the ticket, don’t pay it straight away.
Points on Your Driving Record
Not all states use the points system, but Florida does. If you run a stop sign, you’ll get three points added to your driving record. Note that if you’ve paid your ticket online without contesting it, you won’t be able to avoid these points.
If you get 12 points in a single year, your license will be suspended for 30 days. 18 points in 18 months will result in a three-month suspension. If you manage to get 24 points within 36 months you’ll get a one-year suspension.
Three points for running a stop sign might not seem like a lot, but with other violations, they can quickly add up. Florida Statute 322.27 goes into further detail regarding points.
On top of the risk of a suspension from driving, points can cost you money. Insurance companies will see this as an indicator that you may not be a safe driver, so they’re likely to increase your premiums.
In Florida, all drivers are legally required to have liability insurance. If your premiums go up and you can no longer afford your insurance, Florida will suspend your license.
In some cases, a driver who receives a moving violation may be allowed to attend a driver improvement school. Generally, drivers who attend these don’t have points added to their records. They do, however, still need to pay the fine.
Defenses for Running a Stop Sign
In most cases, a traffic ticket in Florida is a case of the driver’s word against the police officer. As such, it can be difficult to contest a ticket if you’re wrongfully accused. If you want to go down this path, it’s essential that you seek out professional legal assistance.
Even with the information in this article, it’s simply for educational purposes rather than legal advice. For real help with any legal case, you want a qualified lawyer on your side.
Some common defenses in a stop sign violation include:
- The stop sign was new or hidden
- The limit line was difficult to see
- You stopped further from the intersection or the limit line
It’s ultimately a driver’s responsibility to stop at a stop sign, but in some situations, the court might offer some leeway. If the limit line is faded, for example, and the driver stops too far forward or back. A police officer might not see them stop and believe that they simply ran the stop sign.
It’s not the driver’s fault if a stop sign is hidden and they can’t see it. The city is responsible for making sure all traffic signs are visible to drivers. In a case like this, the driver isn’t at fault so should be able to successfully contest the ticket.
The best outcome depends on the specific case. If the citation wasn’t legitimate, then you could fight to dismiss the ticket which may lead to a positive outcome.
When this isn’t possible, however, working to reduce the penalties could be the best option. For example, attending a driver improvement school to protect you from receiving points.
What to Do if You Run a Stop Sign
Even if you don’t intend to run a stop sign, it can still happen. Understanding the information above will help, but the best thing to do is find a professional traffic ticket defense attorney.
RHINO Lawyers is based in Tampa and has years of experience in traffic ticket defense. We’ll work to minimize your penalty, and may even be able to have the ticket dismissed. Contact us today for your free case evaluation.
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RHINO Lawyers can help and guide you through a system molded by law enforcement, judges, and lawyers for decades. Having won cases for our clients in similar circumstances, our criminal defense team knows what it takes to fight on your behalf.
Let RHINO Lawyers answer your questions and review the facts of your case with a Free Consultation. So, get started by completing the “Free Instant Case Evaluation” or by calling us any time, day or night, at (844) RHINO-77.