Almost every driver knows that they can go forward on a roadway through a green light and must stop at a red light. However, there seems to be a fair amount of confusion regarding when drivers are permitted to make turns at a solid red light. This blog article will explain what the Michigan Vehicle Code has to say about left or right turns at red lights.
The entire law regarding when turns on red light are permissible is contained within MCL 257.612(c)(ii), which states:
“Vehicular traffic facing a steady red signal, after stopping before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection or at a limit line when marked or, if there is no crosswalk or limit line, before entering the intersection, may make a right turn from a 1-way or 2-way street into a 2-way street or into a 1-way street carrying traffic in the direction of the right turn or may make a left turn from a 1-way or 2-way street into a 1-way roadway carrying traffic in the direction of the left turn, unless prohibited by sign, signal, marking, light, or other traffic control device. The vehicular traffic shall yield the right of way to pedestrians and bicyclists lawfully within an adjacent crosswalk and to other traffic lawfully using the intersection.”
The summary of rules regarding turns at red lights are as follows:
- Right-Turn On Red Onto A One-Way OR Two-Way Street: IF THERE IS NO SIGN PROHIBITING TURN ON RED, you may make a right turn into the direction of traffic provided that you properly yield to pedestrians and bicyclists in the crosswalk and other vehicles in the lane of traffic.
- Left-Turn On Red Onto A One-Way Street: IF THERE IS NO SIGN PROHIBITING TURN ON RED, you may make a left turn on a one-way street where traffic flows in the direction of the left turn provided that you properly yield to pedestrians and bicyclists in the crosswalk and other vehicles in the lane of traffic.
A person who makes an improper turn at a red light is responsible for a civil infraction punishable by a fine. In addition, two points will be added to the offender’s driving record.
A person accused of an improper turn at the red light is not required to admit responsibility and can request a formal or informal hearing before a district court judge or magistrate. After receiving a citation, it is critical that the hearing is requested with the court within 10 days. The burden is on the prosecutor to show that you violated the law and that there was a posted sign or signal prohibiting the turn on red. It is not uncommon for the police officer to fail to appear at the formal or informal hearing which can lead to an outright dismissal. In addition, you may be able to negotiate with the prosecutor to admit to a non-moving violation in exchange for having the improper turn citation dismissed (e.g. impeding traffic). Admitting to a non-moving, non-abstracted violation can avoid both points on your Michigan driving record and “insurance points” assessed by your no-fault carrier in deciding whether or not to raise your rates. A traffic lawyer can provide some invaluable guidance and assistance in minimizing the consequences related to speeding.
If you are accused of any traffic violation and need legal representation, do not hesitate to contact the attorneys at Kershaw, Vititoe & Jedinak PLC for assistance today.