CA Vehicle Code 21453 (a): Red Light Violation

Navigating the roads requires a solid understanding of traffic laws to ensure safety and compliance. Central among these is the Vehicle Code § 21453 CVC, which mandates that drivers must come to a complete stop at red traffic lights. Recognizing the significance of this particular code is crucial — it serves as a fundamental rule aimed at preventing accidents and maintaining an orderly flow of traffic. Violations of this law not only endanger everyone on the road but also carry significant legal repercussions.

Drivers facing charges for a Red Light Violation should consider expert legal guidance. Our website,, offers an invaluable resource for those in such predicaments. Here, you can tap into an extensive network of seasoned DUI lawyers across California, each well-versed in traffic law and defense strategies. Whether seeking advice or representation, our directory is your gateway to legal support tailored to your needs.

Understanding Vehicle Code (a)

The California Vehicle Code § 21453 CVC is an important law that requires all drivers to follow the rules for red traffic lights. This law explains what drivers should do when they approach and stop at red lights to keep everyone safe and maintain order on the roads.

Obligatory Stop at Red Lights

According to Vehicle Code 21453 CVC, drivers must do the following:

  1. At Intersections: Come to a complete stop at the limit line, if there is one, before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection. If there is no limit line or crosswalk, stop before entering the intersection itself.
  2. At Crosswalks: When there’s a red light and a marked crosswalk without a limit line, stop before entering the crosswalk.
  3. At Marked Lines: If there’s a solid white line showing where you should stop, stop before crossing that line when faced with a red light.

Exceptions and Permitted Actions under the Law

While stopping at a red light is usually required, there are some situations where you can make a turn even if the light is still red:

  1. Right Turn on Red: After making a complete stop and checking for any signs that prohibit it, you can turn right if it’s safe and there are no pedestrians or other vehicles coming. Remember to yield to any traffic that has the right-of-way.
  2. Left Turn from One-Way Street: Similarly, after stopping, drivers on a one-way street may turn left onto another one-way street unless otherwise indicated by signs. Again, this action requires yielding to pedestrians and other vehicles that have priority.

For both of these maneuvers under red light conditions, make sure to:

  • Make a full stop as described earlier.
  • Look carefully for any signs that say you can’t turn.
  • Watch out for pedestrians in any nearby crosswalks.
  • Give the right-of-way to other vehicles.
  • Only proceed when you can clearly see the traffic situation.

Remember, while Vehicle Code § 21453 CVC mainly enforces a strict stop at red lights, it also recognizes practical situations where limited movement is allowed. These exceptions are meant to improve traffic flow without compromising safety. Each decision you make when using these exceptions requires responsible judgment and awareness of your surroundings.

By fully understanding these rules about Vehicle Code § 21453 CVC—including both the things you must do and the things that are allowed—you can contribute to safer roads and smoother travel. Following these rules helps prevent accidents and keeps California streets safe for everyone.

Yielding to Pedestrians and Vehicles at Red Lights

Under VEH § 21453, drivers are mandated to exercise caution and give priority to pedestrians and other vehicles when approaching a red light. This law emphasizes the significance of safety in traffic management, putting the responsibility on the driver to ensure safe passage for all road users.

Key Points:

Yielding to Pedestrians:

Pedestrian safety is paramount. Regardless of whether they are crossing at an intersection or anywhere else, drivers must stop and allow them to cross safely when the light is red. Ignoring this rule can lead to serious accidents causing injury or even fatality.

Yielding to Other Vehicles:

Similarly, it’s crucial for the drivers to give way to other vehicles that have the right of way during a red light situation. This includes vehicles coming from other directions at an intersection or emergency vehicles with sirens on.

The potential risks associated with not adhering to these rules are severe. Disobeying Vehicle Code § 21453 CVC can lead to dangerous situations, risking lives, and causing property damage. In addition, it can result in legal consequences such as fines, points on your driving record, and even jail time in extreme cases.

Being aware of these rules and following them ensures smoother traffic flow and a safer environment for everyone on the road. It’s not just about abiding by the law; it’s about taking responsibility for our actions and their potential impact on others.

Common Defenses for Red Light Violations

When it comes to defending against a red light violation, it’s important to know that the strength of your defense can greatly impact the outcome of your case. There are several defenses that can be used in response to a red light violation charge, including:

1. Hidden or Blocked Light

If there was something blocking your view of the traffic signal, such as a large tree or a sign placed in a way that made it hard to see, this could be a valid defense. To support this claim, you would need evidence like photographs showing the obstruction.

2. Officer Error

Just like anyone else, traffic officers can make mistakes too. They might misinterpret a situation or not have had a clear view of what actually happened. If you believe the officer who gave you the ticket made an error, gathering witness testimonies or video footage could significantly strengthen your case.

3. Emergency/Avoidance

In certain scenarios, running a red light might have been necessary in order to avoid an accident or respond to an emergency situation. For example, if you had to quickly swerve out of the way of a dangerous driver and ended up going through a red light in the process.

It’s important to note that consulting with an experienced attorney is crucial in any of these situations. They can carefully review the details of your case and determine which defenses are likely to be most effective when presenting your arguments in court. Keep in mind that each situation is unique and what may have worked for one driver may not necessarily work for another.

Penalties and Consequences of Red Light Violations

Understanding the potential ramifications of a red light violation under Vehicle Code § 21453 CVC is crucial. These penalties can include substantial fines, court costs, and even an impact on your driving record.

Fines and Court Costs

The initial fine for a red light violation is typically around $35.00, but it can increase significantly with the addition of court costs, fees, and assessments. In some instances, the total amount you may be required to pay can exceed $100.

Failure to Appear

Ignoring a ticket or failing to appear in court as required can lead to more serious consequences. Under Vehicle Code 40508 VC, such actions can result in a misdemeanor charge. This can bring on additional penalties, including potentially larger fines or even jail time.

Impact on Driving Record

Every traffic violation comes with a certain number of points that are added to your driving record by the DMV. A red light violation under Vehicle Code § 21453 CVC adds one point to your record. Accumulating four points within a 12-month period can lead to your license being suspended due to negligent operation.

Impact of Red Light Violations on Personal Injury Lawsuits

In the context of a personal injury lawsuit following a car accident, a red light violation can have far-reaching implications.

Negligent Per Se

Under California law, if it’s proven that you violated Vehicle Code § 21453 CVC by running a red light at the time of an accident, you may be considered negligent per se. This means you are deemed negligent as a matter of law because you violated a statute designed to protect others from harm.

Comparative Fault Laws

California operates under comparative fault laws in personal injury cases. If you are found partially at fault for an accident because you ran a red light, it could affect the compensation you receive for your injuries. Even if the other party was also partially at fault, your compensation may be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to you.

Navigating these legal complexities can be challenging. To ensure your rights are protected and to understand all potential consequences of a red light violation, it’s advisable to consult with an experienced traffic violation defense attorney who specializes in such cases.

Seeking Legal Representation for a Red Light Violation Case

When facing red light violation penalties, it’s important to understand the potential financial and legal consequences. Fines for these violations start at $35, but can quickly add up with court costs, fees, and assessments. And it doesn’t stop there – your insurance rates may also increase as a result of the violation.

Ignoring a ticket is not a good idea either. Doing so can lead to more serious problems under VC 40508, also known as “failure to appear.” This offense carries heavy penalties and legal consequences, including misdemeanor charges. That’s why it’s crucial to take prompt action when you receive a traffic citation.

If you’re involved in a personal injury lawsuit, pay even closer attention. Being found in violation of Vehicle Code § 21453 CVC could establish your negligence as “negligent per se.” And this can directly impact the outcome of your lawsuit.

Given the potential impact on your finances and legal record, it’s wise to consider partnering with a red light violation defense attorney. Here are some benefits of hiring a lawyer:

Benefits of Hiring a Red Light Violation Defense Attorney

  1. Expert Guidance: A specialized attorney can navigate the intricacies of traffic law to develop a strong defense strategy.
  2. Penalty Mitigation: Lawyers have experience in negotiating reduced fines or alternative sentencing options that could help you avoid points on your driving record.

At, we provide resources that can make a difference in your case:

  • Extensive Directory: Connect with top-rated DUI lawyers in California who handle red light violation cases.
  • Detailed Attorney Profiles: Evaluate your options by reading about each lawyer’s qualifications and experience.

With these tools at your disposal, you can confidently address your red light violation case with expert assistance.

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