Feifer & Greenberg, LLP

Top 5 things to know about Red Lights in New York.

Top 5 things to know about Red Lights in New York.

1.   There are no right turns on a red light in NYC.  If there is a sign there specifically stating that such a turn is allowed, then it’s allowed.  Otherwise, it is prohibited in all five boroughs.  “I didn’t know” won’t cut it in court should it come to that.

2.  A red light camera ticket is not a moving violation.  The camera cannot identify a particular driver and a moving violation summons cannot therefore be issued against a particular person’s driver license.  Red light camera tickets are treated as parking violations and are issued to the registrant.  If you are the registered owner, you are officially on the hook if a camera snaps a picture of your car disobeying a red light regardless of who was driving just like you’d be responsible for a parking ticket regardless of who actually parked the car.

3.  There is no standard with respect to the length of time a yellow light phase lasts.  Some are shorter and some are longer.  It’s a product of engineering work done at each intersection which considers a number of factors including the traffic flow, the average speed of traffic and the typical visibility a motorist has when approaching the intersection.  The idea with setting the yellow phase is to minimize the number of drivers who enter the “dilemma zone” which is the point on the roadway, while approaching the intersection, where a driver is just not sure what to do and has to decide whether to stop at the intersection or continue through as the light is in the process of changing to red.

4.  Red arrows mean you cannot proceed in the direction the arrow is facing regardless of what other signals (such as an ordinary green disc) are facing you as well.  A flashing red light is the same as a stop sign.

5.  You are permitted to enter an intersection at any point prior to the light entering it’s red phase.  “Entering” the intersection means passing whatever is deemed to be the stopping point at the intersection.  A stopping point is usually a crosswalk or stop line but in some cases is simply the curb lines of the intersecting roadways.  Note that if you were issued a traffic ticket for disobeying a red light, the officer does not feel the light was anything other than red at the time you entered the intersection.


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Your office is in NYC. How do you handle cases statewide?

We have organized a statewide network of attorneys. In our network are both attorneys who work for Feifer & Greenberg and attorneys who work for other firms that regularly provide of-counsel representation to our clients. This statewide network allows us to match clients in a particular county or court with local attorneys who regularly appear on similar matters in the same county or court. It enables us to help clients anywhere in New York State and in our opinion provide particularly effective and affordable representation for our clients. Local attorneys can draw on their particular local experiences and, with travel time and expense removed from the equation, help us keep our legal fees low.

Do you guarantee results?
We can only guarantee that we will provide the best possible client service and legal representation. We can’t guarantee results. These are legal proceedings and we can’t promise you that every case will end in our favor. We will always honestly assess your case (both good and bad) and set realistic expectations during your consultation. We’ll discuss our goals and objectives but no attorney can ever guarantee how a case will conclude.
Should I just pay my ticket or should I fight?

We recommend fighting almost all tickets. Even if the current NY traffic tickets aren’t particularly harmful, you have an incentive to keep your record clean for the future. Convictions quickly lead to surcharges, insurance increases and other complications. You should strongly consider any decision to pay a ticket without fighting.

How can our traffic ticket lawyers help you?

Our lawyers are experienced, prepared attorneys who understand the nuances of fighting traffic tickets. Experience, preparation and good decision making help us to help our clients avoid points, surcharges, insurance increases and the other negatives that can easily result from a traffic ticket.


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