Whether you received a red light ticket for a failure to stop on Roosevelt Boulevard in Philadelphia, or got pulled over for an illegal turn at an intersection near Lincoln Financial Field, you could be on the hook for some serious money. Receiving a traffic ticket in Pennsylvania can not only put a severe dent in your wallet, but you'll also be assessed points that could result in a license suspension or worse.

In Pennsylvania there are 2 primary forms of red light violations: red light camera violations, and summary violations.

Pennsylvania Red Light Camera Violation

A sign hanging on a metal pole warns drivers of an intersection that has cameras enforcing red lights.

Georgia is one of many states that allows red light cameras to issue citations. The penalties for these are less harsh than being issued a citation by a law enforcement officer. In Pennsylvania, these automated camera red light citations are not considered moving violations.

What does this mean?

A red light camera ticket carries a fee of up to $100, but does not add any points to your license. It also cannot be used against you for the purposes of your insurance premiums. You just have to pay the fine and it'll be like it never happened.

Philadelphia drivers can pay their ticket online. Other drivers should contact the jurisdiction that issued your red light citation to pay the fee.

Pennsylvania Red Light Moving Violations Explained

Easel with the prohibition sign NO. Indicating a committed violation.

Receiving a ticket for a red light violation of any kind in Pennsylvania means a few things. First of all, if your license is in good standing, you're looking at a fee of $25 dollars, but that's just the beginning.

Then there are the points you'll be adding to your license.

License Points

When found guilty of a moving violation points will be added to your license, which can result in an increase to your insurance premiums, or worse, as well as an eventual suspension of your driver's license. Each red light violation in Pennsylvania, unless you have committed additional violations at the same time, adds 3 points to your license.

Pennsylvania Diver License Points System Explained

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You face potential consequences as you accumulated license points in Pennsylvania. If you are younger than 18 years of age and rack up 6 points, your license will be suspended.

Drivers 18 years old and older face escalating consequences as the accumulate points.

First 6 points

You will receive a written notice of must complete a knowledge examination for your license to remain in good standing.

Second 6 points

You will have to attend a mandatory hearing about the status of your driving privileges. Depending on the outcome of the hearing you may also:

  • Be required to take a road examination
  • Take a PA DOT approved defensive driving course
  • Have your license suspended for 15 days

Third 6 Points

The third time or more that you accumulate 6 points on your driving record you will face another mandatory hearing to determine whether or not your license will be suspended for 30 days.

Accumulate 11 Points

If, at any time, you accumulate 11 or more points on your Pennsylvania driving record license you will be unable to avoid a license suspension.

The length of this suspension will vary based on the number of suspensions you have received previously, as well as the number of points you currently have on your license.

Automatic Point Removal for Safe Driving

For any 12 months that you do are not found guilty of a moving violation or do not have your license suspended for any reason, you will have 3 points automatically removed for safe driving.

Pennsylvania Red Light Ticket Options

Gavel and model car on the table. So, you've received a ticket. You know how much it's likely to cost you and you know how many points you're facing if found guilty. The question is, what are your options now? Thankfully, you have several:

Pay the fine

The simplest option will always be to pay your ticket, but there are a few things you should know about doing so. First, by paying your ticket you are in effect pleading guilty to your violation. This means that you will have to pay the full amount of penalties and court costs, as well as be assessed the 3 points to your license for being convicted of a red light violation.

Contest Your Ticket

You always have the option to enter a not guilty plea with the court and contest your ticket. You could win and have your charges dismissed entirely. However, you risk spending additional time and money doing so, and there is no guarantee that you will succeed. You should consider professional representation if you lose your case and you'll be liable for any additional court and lawyer fees, your original fine. Not to mention you'll still face the dreaded increase in your auto insurance premium.

Court Ordered Defensive Driving in Pennsylvania

Depending on your driver's license point status, you may be ordered to complete a PA DOT approved defensive driving course.

This may not be your first choice, but it's better than having your license suspended. Finding the right course for you will make the process as painless as possible. Who knows? It could even be fun.

The steps to successfully dismissing your court ordered defensive driving course are simple:

No one likes getting a red light ticket, but failing to address it can cause long-term problems for the state of your license, your insurance rate, and potentially, your freedom. Getting ahead of the issue is the best course of action, and knowing what you'll need to pay is the first step toward putting the whole thing behind you.