You might think that rushing through a red light just as it turns red, or not stopping at a stop sign if you think the road ahead is clear, are minor issues, but the state of Delaware thinks otherwise. You can be fined for either of these two offenses and even be jailed if you repeat the offense within two years. You will also have points added to your license and the combination of points and fines could be a major inconvenience.
Red Light Tickets
There are two different types of citations for running a red light in Delaware. If you go past a red light at a traffic light where an automatic camera has been installed, then you will get a ticket in the mail if your vehicle was photographed. These tickets get sent to the registered owner of the vehicle, rather than the driver, as the camera cannot recognize the driver’s face. If you get a ticket for a red light violation and someone else was driving your car at the time, you have the responsibility of doing something about it! These tickets are more like parking tickets and will not affect your license
Red light tickets can also be given out by a police officer who sees you going through a red light. This ticket will be given to you personally, whether you were the owner or not. You could face a fine of between $75 to $230 for a red light ticket and an automatic 3 points on your license. A second offense could put the fine up to as much as $575 or you could face a minimum of 10 days in jail instead.
Stop Sign Violations
It’s easy to do. All it takes is to cruise up to an intersection or pedestrian crossing where there is a stop sign and you take the risk and don’t stop. There’s nothing there – or so you think. Then you get landed with a stop sign violation ticket. These are like red light tickets and attract the same sort of penalties.
Points are Accumulative
While you won’t lose your license for a single red light ticket or stop sign violation directly, the points you get on your license could push you over the limit for Delaware. You should know how many points are on your license as the Division of Motor Vehicles should have sent you out a reminder notice when your points reached 8. All it takes is another 4 points and your license will be suspended. The length of suspension varies from 1 month to 2 years, depending on the number of points you have accumulated.
Should you Use an Attorney?
Losing your license could be a worse inconvenience than paying a fine, so you should think carefully before you send in a guilty plea and pay the money when you receive either of these two tickets. Although many people’s first thought is that it might be cheaper to pay a fine than pay an attorney’s fee, this might not be the case if you lose your license. It all depends on whether you need your vehicle for your job, or even to get to a job. Even if the violation has left you short of the 12 points needed for a license suspension it will put you close enough to get one next time you get a ticket.
The other point to think about is whether your ticket has any effect on your next insurance installment. You can find this out from your insurance company. When you add up the fine, the increased insurance premium and the possibility of a license suspension, it makes an attorney’s fee a lot more attractive proposition.
By pleading not guilty, it puts the pressure on the prosecution to find you guilty. With any luck, the police officer who issued you with the ticket might not come to the court appearance, or with the help of a traffic violation attorney you can plea bargain your charge down to a lesser offense and not pick up points or pay a smaller fine.