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Feifer & Greenberg, LLP
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01 Aug2022


Can you make a right turn on red in NYC?

In many places, it’s legal to make a right turn at a red light as long as you yield to oncoming traffic first. 

However, in NYC, making a right turn on red is illegal unless the traffic signal posts otherwise. 

Sadly, the “I didn’t know” defense rarely works to get you out of a traffic ticket. It’s clearly written in the NYC driver’s manual that you can access online at any time. It states, “You are not allowed to turn on a red light in New York City unless a sign that permits it is posted.”

If you received a traffic ticket after turning right on a red light, reach out to a New York red light ticket lawyer from Feifer & Greenberg. Call us at (888) 842-5384 to set up a free consultation and discuss your next steps. 

You Can Turn Right on Red in the State of New York, but Not in the City

Traffic laws in New York state can be complicated if you drive in and out of the City often.

In the rest of the state, you can make a right turn at a red light if you come to a complete stop, yield the right of way to all oncoming traffic and pedestrians, and as long as there is no sign posted that prohibits a right on red.

It’s the opposite in NYC. You still have to come to a complete stop, but the law states you must not turn right on red unless there is a sign posted allowing you to do so. 

There’s a red light law that’s the same in both the state and the City. If you see a flashing red light, you treat it as a stop sign. That means you should come to a complete stop, yield to pedestrians and traffic, and then proceed with caution when it’s your turn. 

Another law that is the same throughout the entire state is the red arrow law. Drivers are never allowed to turn right on a red arrow under any circumstances. You must wait until it turns green – in the city and elsewhere in the state. 

Penalties for an Illegal RTOR in NYC

There are penalties for making an illegal right turn on red in New York City. If you receive a ticket, you will get three points added to your driving record. You’ll also receive a fine, but the amount will vary depending on the circumstances and the area. 

Most illegal right turn on red fines range from $50 to $300. If you did any of the following things, your fines might be higher: 

  • You were speeding 
  • You have other outstanding violations on your record
  • You failed to yield to pedestrians or other traffic
  • You failed to come to a complete stop at the light
  • Anyone was injured or killed as a result of your illegal right turn

If you accrue 11 or more points within 18 months, you could have your license suspended. Whenever you are within the city limits and you aren’t sure whether a right on red is allowed, assume it isn’t. 

It’s better to be safe than suspended. 

Received an NYC traffic ticket? We can help.

If you received any kind of traffic ticket in NYC – including illegal right turns at red lights – we can help.

 Contact a New York traffic ticket lawyer from Feifer & Greenberg for a free consultation. Call us today at (888) 842-5384 and we’ll look at your case and tell you what the best course of action is.