I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today.
A yellow light is a warning to drivers that the light is going to turn red immediately, but the statutes don't specifically require stopping at a yellow light. Here's what that statute says:
(a) A driver facing a steady circular red signal alone shall stop at a marked limit line, but if none, before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection or, if none, then before entering the intersection, and shall remain stopped until an indication to proceed is shown, except as provided in subdivision (b).
(b) Except when a sign is in place prohibiting a turn, a driver, after stopping as required by subdivision (a), facing a steady circular red signal, may turn right, or turn left from a one-way street onto a one-way street. A driver making that turn shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians lawfully within an adjacent crosswalk and to any vehicle that has approached or is approaching so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard to the driver, and shall continue to yield the right-of-way to that vehicle until the driver can proceed with reasonable safety.
If you had stopped when the light changed, then you'd have been OK to finish the turn (even if you were in the crosswalk, unless the light was a red arrow). To beat the ticket, you'd have to be able to establish that you were far enough through the turn that it was impossible to stop before the line when the light changed. If you have a camera ticket, go through the pictures carefully to see if they show what you remember from making the turn. If the ticket was issued by an officer at the scene, you have the right to cross-examine him to try to establish that the light wasn't red when you went through the intersection.
If you have a mostly clean driving record, you may be able to pay the fine, take traffic school, and avoid having any points show up on your driving record. That options is only available if you have not taken traffic school within the past 18 months. You can set that up by filling out the paperwork that came with the ticket or by going to court and talking to the district attorney. You also have the option of going in and asking if they would reduce the offense to one that would carry a lower fine and/or fewer points.
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