Red Light, Green Light!
March 7, 2007 3:52 PM   Subscribe

How much is the fine for running a red light in Oakland, California? (Alameda County). I've searched around but can't find a definitive answer.

I got pulled over for running a red light today in Oakland, California. (My first time getting pulled over and I about passed out from the adrenaline rush.) I gunned it on the yellow and didn't quite make it. I don't usually do that, but um yeah, I did it this time. I was wrong, I know I was wrong and he caught me fair and square. He was incredibly polite and respectful about it and I didn’t argue with him. I actually said, “Ok, I think that’s fair” when he said he was going to write me the ticket. As it turns out, he let me off with a warning saying he had something more important to get to. Whew!!

But.. to ensure I don’t do it again, I think it’s important to know exactly how much my complete stupidity would have cost me.

Dear Oakland Police Officer: Thanks for being so nice and even bigger thanks for letting me off with a warning! I really needed the break today. Also, hi. You were damn cute. Ahem.
posted by trixare4kids to Law & Government (11 answers total)
This isn't exactly the same, but I didn't stop & made a right on red, and my ticket was $400. That was in Riverside, CA. Paid it today, and it really hurt.
posted by Four-Eyed Girl at 3:59 PM on March 7, 2007

I think it varies quite a bit. Pretty much every intersection out here around Dublin/Pleasanton/Livermore has a red-light violation warning sign. And the fines are all different. They all run in the $200+ range though.
posted by R343L at 4:09 PM on March 7, 2007

could try calling the place you'd pay the ticket to and ask, or even just call the police department non emergency phone #
posted by edgeways at 4:15 PM on March 7, 2007

I think in Oakland it's $251. My friend got one a few months ago, caught by camera and ticket mailed to her.
posted by iamkimiam at 4:41 PM on March 7, 2007

I don't know about Oakland, but Berkeley refuses to tell you except on the notice you get in the mail because "Fines for Vehicle Code Violations are calculated using a complex formula involving the Municipality, County, and State. These fines are subject to change without notice." I think this means they get to make them up.

I just had to pay $89 for having my seatbelt under my arm instead of over my shoulder.
posted by small_ruminant at 4:42 PM on March 7, 2007

It's not just the cost of the ticket that you would suffer, as a moving violation would add points to your driving record which means you'd be paying more for insurance (unless you used traffic school.) So it's not really possible to say without getting a quote from your insurer.
posted by Rhomboid at 4:51 PM on March 7, 2007

$450 in Sacramento
posted by special-k at 5:10 PM on March 7, 2007

~$350 in Pasadena.

The worst part for me wasn't the fine (I had the money to spare, fortunately). A month after I ran the red light, I finally received the envelope I was hoping wouldn't come. When I opened the envelope, along with the ticket there was a printout of the photos the red light camera had taken: me about to hit the intersection, me in the middle of the intersection after the light turned red, and a closeup of me looking really worried.

Plus! There was a website address printed on there too, which led me to a page where I could watch the full video version of my brief life of crime. That was the creamy icing on the whole shitty cake.

But, as jamaro said, I could have plowed into someone and killed them and/or myself, just because I thought I could make it through the intersection. Thankfully that didn't happen.
posted by Shecky at 5:24 PM on March 7, 2007

It can also depend on your previous driving record. If you've been dinged for a moving violation in the past 18 months, your new ticket might be quite a bit more than you'd expect.

Good thing you only got a warning. Watch out for those yellow lights! If a cop doesn't catch you, one of those damn cameras might...
posted by drstein at 9:00 PM on March 7, 2007

Around $150 for an illegal left in Emeryville.

(And as an Oakland resident, can I request the police stop enforcing yellow light violations and instead go after, say, the crack dealers in my neighborhood? Jeezuz. On Saturday, one was "walking around naked, shaking his privates," according to my cousin. On second thought that's pretty funny, and now I feel bad for wishing he was arrested.)
posted by salvia at 8:33 AM on March 8, 2007

From reading above, figure maybe $300 for the actual fine.

For your first offense, you might want to go to court and try to get a PBJ (probation before judgment - basically, if you have no more violations in a set time period then this one wouldn't be on your record, but get another violation and this one shows up as well) so that your insurance rates won't rise. So figure at least a half day off work, plus incidental expenses. And you'll still have to pay the fine if you get the PBJ.

If you don't get the PBJ, your insurance might rise - and you're still out the fine and the time and expense of going to court. If you do get the PBJ, then you've probably used up your "free pass" and the next moving violation is going to hurt more than this one.
posted by KAS at 8:51 AM on March 8, 2007

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