By: Adam H. Rosenblum Esq. | Last Updated:
A conviction for running a stop sign may result in a fine of $243 for a first offense and 3 points being added to your driving record. A driver can be charged with running a stop sign whether he/she “rolls” through it or fails to slow down at all.
Unfortunately, missing a stop sign happens to the best of us. This can happen when a driver is in a hurry or is in an unfamiliar area and does not even see the sign. No matter the situation, failing to stop for a stop sign is a big deal in New York and it can be quite costly.
Stop Sign Ticket Penalties in New York
Points: Failing to stop for a stop sign can result in up to 3 points on one’s license. Additional offenses within 18 months of the first add 3 points per conviction. Too many points can result in additional fees and a possible suspension of one’s license.
Fine: Drivers convicted of disobeying a stop sign can expect a fine of up to $150 for a first offense. A second offense in 18 months can cost up to $300 and a third within 18 months can cost up to $450.
Surcharge: New York State requires drivers to pay a surcharge of $88 or $93 in addition to the fine or other costs of a stop sign ticket.
Driver Responsibility Assessment (DRA) fee: Drivers convicted of six or more points worth of violations within an 18-month period will be charged a Driver Responsibility Assessment (DRA) fee. This is separate from and in addition to the surcharges and fines. A DRA costs $300 plus an additional $75 for each point after six.
Auto insurance increase: Rolling through a stop sign may seem like a minor offense, but auto insurance companies may not see it that way. A missed stop sign can result in an accident (see data below), so any driver convicted of a stop sign ticket may be perceived as engaging in risky behavior. As a result, premiums are likely to rise by as much as 19% according to some studies.
Jail time: Believe it or not a driver can be sentenced to up to 15 days in jail for running a stop sign. However, the likelihood of this is slim. Judges reserve jail time for the most extreme cases.
How to Beat a Stop Sign Ticket
It is possible to beat a stop sign ticket in New York if the facts are in the driver’s favor. Here are some defenses that may be successful, depending on how they are presented and the circumstances of the case:
The stop sign wasn’t visible. If a tree, bush, or other physical obstruction made the stop sign difficult to see, a driver can use this to his/her advantage in court. However, a judge is not likely to take one’s word for it; photographic or video evidence (e.g. dashcam footage) may be needed for this defense to win.
The line was faded/not visible. A driver can potentially beat a ticket if he/she can show that the line at which he/she was expected to stop was faded or covered by an obstruction, such as fallen leaves or a layer of snow. As above, photographic or video evidence provides the best chance of succeeding with this defense.
There are several common defenses that drivers try that rarely if ever, work. These include:
Saying the cop is wrong. Getting into a “he said/she said” situation with the police officer is not going to work. Judges will almost always side with the officer until the driver can submit evidence casting the officer’s words into doubt.
Saying the stop sign was new. While some judges may be sympathetic to situations when a driver runs a stop sign that was newly installed, it is best not to rely on this defense. In fact, this defense requires acknowledging that the driver did, in fact, fail to notice and stop at the sign, which means he/she admits to breaking the law.
Saying one did not know he/she had to come to a complete stop. Too many drivers think that ignorance will get them out of a ticket. New York State assumes all drivers are aware of the law, so this doesn’t work.
Why Hire an Attorney
Any defense against a NY stop sign ticket can be effective only if it can be supported by the facts (a witness would help as well) and are well-argued. A belligerent or rude driver is not likely to convince a judge even when he/she is totally innocent. This is where a skilled attorney can be a huge advantage. An attorney will have the skills and ability to present the facts in a manner that is most likely to convince a judge of the driver’s innocence. In addition, a driver who hires an attorney may not have to appear in court themselves.
Drivers from outside New York sometimes mistakenly believe they can ignore a NY stop sign ticket. No matter how minor the offense may seem, New York State can suspend someone’s right to drive within its borders for failing to respond to or pay a ticket issued here. Unfortunately, a driver who pays a ticket for running a stop sign in New York may still have to deal with points, insurance increases and fines associated with a conviction. New York is one of several states that shares traffic conviction information with other states. That means those convictions are almost certain to end up on a person’s driving record and thusly impact their auto insurance
Each state handles a New York traffic ticket conviction differently. Here are some examples:
- New Jersey – The NJ Motor Vehicle Commission assess two points on a New Jersey license following a moving violation conviction in New York or other states. Read More
- Connecticut – Drivers from Connecticut will not receive points from the CT DMV following a stop sign ticket conviction in New York. However, the three points NY assigns to the violation will be noted by the NY DMV and can still result in a suspension of driving privileges in NY. Read More
- Massachusetts – The Massachusetts RMV will assess points for out-of-state convictions as though they occurred there. Thus, a Massachusetts driver convicted of running a stop sign in New York will get two points on their license. Read More
- Other states – Drivers licensed in any of the other 50 states and D.C. can find more information about New York speeding tickets by visiting our out-of-state license page.
Data on Stop Sign Tickets in New York
In 2018, police wrote 112,771 tickets to drivers for disobeying stop signs. This is a 7.4% decline in stop sign tickets from 2017, in which 121,774 stop sign tickets were written. Despite the dip, it seems drivers have been getting increasingly ticketed for violating stop signs over the past 10 years. Stop sign tickets have increased by 20% since 2009, the earliest data available from the DMV. Drivers in Queens received the most stop sign tickets in 2018, with 14,249 such citations issued last year. Queens also wrote the largest percentage of tickets for stop sign violations; 5.4% of all tickets in Queens last year were for running stop signs. Queens was followed by the Bronx and Suffolk County on Long Island, which wrote the next greatest proportion of stop sign tickets.
When it comes to traffic accident data, the DMV includes stop sign violations in a broader category of disobeying traffic control device. In 2018, disobeying traffic control devices contributed to 15,007 accidents, the 10th most common contributing factor.
- Can you fight a stop sign ticket?
Yes. Drivers can plead not guilty to a stop sign ticket or any other traffic ticket and fight the charge in court. There are several defenses to stop sign tickets, although it is almost always more effective to negotiate a ticket to reduce the charge to a lesser offense with fewer or no points and possibly a lesser fine.
- How much is a stop sign ticket in New York?
A first offense for a stop sign ticket can cost as much as $243 for a first offense. However, if the ticket puts the number of points on one’s license at 6 or more (see above) and/or if it is the second or third offense within 18 months, the cost can be much higher.
- How many points is disobeying a stop sign?
Rolling through or running a stop sign is a 3-point offense.
- Does failure to stop at a stop sign go on your insurance?
Stop sign tickets will go on one’s driving record, which in turn can affect insurance rates. Disobeying traffic control devices (including stop signs) is one of the 10 most common causes of auto accidents in New York most years. Therefore, insurers are likely to see a driver who is convicted of a stop sign ticket as a potential accident risk and raise rates accordingly.
- How much is a stop sign ticket in NYC?
A ticket for running a stop sign in New York City is the same as elsewhere in New York State; it means 3 points on one’s driver’s license, a fine of up to $150 for the first offense and a surcharge of $88 or $93, in addition to other possible penalties mentioned above.