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Help with red arrow ticket - CA

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Junior Member
What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? California


I am a college student and while I was returning from a long day of work I was cited for allegedly running a red arrow light.

It happened at a local perpendicular intersection near my home. I started at the south part of the intersection behind a long row of cars (4-6 cars) all waiting to turn left (east). When the light turned green the cars in front of me slowly started moving forward as they usually do when there is a line. When it got to my turn I started speeding up towards the intersection. Right when I approached the intersection about 5-10 feet before the crosswalk, the light turned yellow. I was maybe going 20-25 mph so stopping would have skidded me into the middle of the intersection. I did my best to clear the intersection in an orderly manner but the light ended up turning red near the end of the turn. The police officer in the left lane from the east side then made a U-turn and stopped me. He initially said he was going to charge me with 3 citations (blocking traffic, running the red, something with pedestrians?) and take away my license. What ended up happening was a 489 dollar ticket arrived in the mail. I am leaving for college next weekend so instead of attending trial, I decided to write a trial by declaration. This is a ton of money that is going to be really hard for me to pay so any help would be much appreciated.

I do not know if this is important or not but when the ticket came in the mail under my dad's name probably because his name appears on the registration. The ticket also does not appear online for me or my dad which is why I physically obtained a copy of the citation from the courthouse. The citation itself shows my name as the recipient as well as my drivers license.


Senior Member, Non-Attorney
Your numbers are way off. If you were doing 20 mph 10 feet before the limit line and the light turned yellow at that point, then you were traveling just over 29 feet per second. Assuming the light stays yellow for two seconds (which is a very conservative estimate) then you would have traveled over 58 feet in those two seconds.


Senior Member
I answered this in the other forum. If you entered on yellow and it turned red on you, you should not be guilty of the red light infraction. You have little to lose with a TBD. If the officer doesn't state you entered on the red arrow, you should prevail on that one. Not yielding to pedestrians (presumably there were some attempting to cross while you tried to clear the intersection), is going to be a tough one to beat (either by TBD or in court). I'm not sure about your "blocking charge." What VC numbers were you actually charged with?

As Zig points out. Your argument for why you got caught in the intersection are spurious and in fact are incriminating. Yellow does not mean speed through before the light turns red, but is warning you that the change is comming. Being unable to stop without skidding into the intersection indicates you were going too fast for conditions.

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