Red Light Tickets in Arizona

We frequently represent clients accused of running a red light.  Many of the red light tickets we see originated from a photo enforcement device, commonly referred to as photo radar. These violations are a little different than speeding violations because of the increased consequences imposed by the Arizona Motor Vehicles Division if you are found responsible.  You may want to read our post about the difference between Defensive Driving Diversion and Traffic Survival School before reading further.

Consequences Of Being Found Responsible For A Red Light Violation

Red light violations are charged under A.R.S. 28-645(A)(3)(a). If you are found responsible, which means either after a hearing a judge finds that you committed the violation, or you just decide to pay the fine and forgo a hearing, you will receive 2 points on your license in addition to the fine.  Even though a red light violation results in fewer points to your license than a speeding ticket (2 instead of 3), it appears that insurance companies frown more upon red light violations than on speeding violations. As a result, red light violations can have a bigger impact on your insurance premiums than a speeding ticket.  Also, if you are found responsible for a red light violation, the court will notify the MVD. The MVD will then send you a notice requiring you to complete an 8-hour traffic survival school class.  This class cannot be taken online and must be taken in person, and if you fail to take the class, your license will be suspended.

Are You Eligible For Defensive Driving Diversion?

You are eligible for defensive driving diversion if you have not taken the defensive driving diversion for a violation that occurred in Arizona that occurred within the last 12 months.  If you hold a commercial driver’s license, you are eligible for defensive driving diversion, but it is not all that helpful for CDL holders. See here.

If you are eligible for defensive driving school, and you do not have a CDL, defensive driving diversion can be a good option. Defensive driving is certainly the least expensive option, with classes costing around $200, which is less than the fine associated with the ticket and less expensive than hiring an attorney to fight the ticket for you.  Plus, the outcome is guaranteed – once you complete defensive driving diversion and the court receives notice, your ticket will be dismissed.

Options If You Are Not Eligible For Defensive Driving Diversion

If you are not eligible for defensive driving diversion, you have two options.  One is to simply pay the fine and take the points.  The second option is to fight the ticket.  If your ticket was issued in person by a police officer, you can request a civil traffic hearing.  If your ticket was the result of a photo enforcement device, the process is a little different.  You can read more about photo enforcement tickets here.  If you cannot take defensive driving diversion, you have little to lose by choosing to fight the ticket.  We have handled hundreds of these cases in Maricopa County and throughout Arizona and are always happy to discuss the particulars of your case with you – just give us a call.