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Ticket for Running a Yellow Light in Wisconsin

Penalties for Running a Yellow Light in Wisconsin

Everyone who drives generally knows the rules of the road.  We all know green means go and red means stop, but what do we know about what a yellow light means.  Some people, tongue in cheek, say that green means go and yellow means speed up.  Typically people think that the law comes down somewhere along the lines of so long as you enter the intersection on a yellow light, you have not violated any traffic law.  Sadly, however, that is not the case.

Wisconsin State Statute § 346.37(1)(b) states:

“Yellow. Except as provided in par. (e) and s. 34639(2), when shown with or following the green, traffic facing a yellow signal shall stop before entering the intersection unless so close to it that a stop may not be made in safety.”

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Penalties for Running a Yellow Light in Wisconsin

Charges vary county to county. As a moving violation, charges could include a ticket and fine, and a loss of points which could contribute to suspension of license. More notably, your driving record impacts your insurance rates which could be far more significant than the cost of the ticket.

What that means in practice, is that a police officer can legally stop a vehicle that has driven through an intersection on a yellow light, so long as that vehicle had enough distance to stop safely.  The statute reads such that instead of simply needing to enter the intersection on a yellow, the light would need to have just changed to yellow prior to entering the intersection in order to lawfully proceed through that intersection.  Obviously, whether a person has the ability to stop safely before entering an intersection is going to be dependent on the specific situation (for example weather conditions) and is open to interpretation.  However, while it may be open for interpretation, the law as written changes what most of us think is required when seeing a yellow light.

Contact our Waukesha defense lawyers if you have been ticketed for running a yellow light in Wisconsin
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