Mike was running late for work one morning and approached an empty four-way intersection.
Despite the stop sign clearly marking that all vehicles must come to a complete halt, Mike decided to slow down and “roll right through it” to save time.
Immediately he saw the flash of police lights in his rearview mirror and was pulled over. The officer wrote him a ticket for “failure to stop” at a stop sign amounting to a $164 fine and 3 points on his license.
Mike realized skirting a basic traffic law to save seconds could end up costing him far more in the long run.
While it may seem harmless, failing to make a complete stop at a stop sign can lead to legal consequences drivers should be aware of. Even a routine traffic ticket for this infraction can raise insurance rates and add points to your DMV record.
Understanding the immediate impacts if pulled over and the potential long-term fallout of convictions is important for making safe choices behind the wheel.
In this article, traffic attorney Ryan Sulte will provide an overview of typical penalties and outcomes associated with traffic citations, court processes, and resulting insurance and DMV effects of failure to stop violations.
Immediate Consequences at a Traffic Stop
Getting pulled over for disregarding a stop sign can have immediate legal and financial consequences. Florida statutes, specifically Title XXIII Chapter 316 (2a), state that “except when directed to proceed by a police officer or traffic control signal, every driver of a vehicle approaching a stop intersection indicated by a stop sign shall stop at a clearly marked stop line.”
Failure to fully stop at stop signs also leads to points against the driver’s license as well as potential insurance rate hikes, making even a single violation costly in the short and long run.
Traffic Citation and Fines
Most often, a citation or ticket will be issued classifying the violation and citing relevant statutes. As a non-criminal traffic offense, it is considered an infraction or civil offense. A preset fine amount will be shown on the ticket and vary among states for a basic stop sign offense. In Florida, these typically amount to $150 to $275. Additional court fees are usually added.
License Points and Impact on Insurance
The citation will note the number of demerit points that will be assessed against your license if you are convicted, usually 2 or 3 points. Rates may increase over 3 years even if it’s a first ticket since failure to stop is deemed a moving violation indicative of higher risk. Insurers will see the conviction on motor vehicle records.
While a single stop sign ticket may not affect driving privileges, it can hit your wallet immediately with fines and boost insurance premiums over time. Multiple citations could endanger your license status.
Fighting the Ticket in Traffic Court
If issued a citation for failure to stop at a stop sign, the ticket can be contested through the traffic court process. One option is hiring a traffic lawyer for representation, as they can identify any potential defenses or develop strategies to reduce penalties through plea bargains or dismissal.
In a plea bargain, the defendant pleads guilty or no contest to reduced charges in exchange for lesser fines or attending traffic school. Defendants also have the right to contest the original charges and request a hearing to tell their side of the case directly to the judge.
At the traffic court hearing, the officer and defendant each present evidence and testimony, upon which the judge determines guilt and any penalties based on the arguments presented.
Possible outcomes include upholding the original citation, reduced plea bargain penalties, complete dismissal of the ticket, or a not-guilty finding at trial in favor of the defendant.
While contesting a ticket does have risks if unsuccessful, experienced traffic attorneys can often negotiate satisfactory outcomes for stop sign infractions.
Longer-Term Impacts of Conviction
While a single minor stop sign conviction may not lead to license suspension, accumulating points for moving violations can eventually trigger suspension along with reinstatement requirements.
Multiple citations over time can also designate you as a high-risk driver, prompting insurance proof filings and premium hikes. If convictions indicate a lack of driving knowledge, the DMV may require license re-examination.
Moreover, the violation stays visible on your DMV record for around 3 years, so insurers will factor it into rate increases that continue for that period. In aggregate, failure to stop tickets raises risks of paying more for insurance, losing driving privileges if violations accumulate, and being legally classified as a higher risk even from a single relatively minor offense.
So while one stop sign citation may not seem impactful alone, it contributes to a record that can have escalating consequences over time if you do not mind traffic laws carefully.
Aggravating Factors Leading to Further Penalties
More severe penalties arise from stop sign violations if compounded by additional infractions:
- Accidents or Injury: Failure to stop that results in a collision, property damage, or bodily injury can lead to criminal negligence charges and civil liability.
- Reckless Driving: If speeding or clearly intentional disregard for traffic signs is displayed, reckless driving charges may apply on top of the stop sign ticket.
- Multiple Violations: Drivers with a pattern of accumulated traffic tickets face greater license suspension risks and fines for repeat offenses.
- License Suspension: Those caught driving with a suspended license due to unpaid tickets or excessive violations face vehicle impoundment, arrest, and revocation of their license.
When a stop sign offense occurs alongside other high-risk factors like speeding, impairment, or collision, the consequences grow far more severe with the potential for criminal charges, jail time, license revocation, and significant financial penalties.
FAQs on Failure to Stop at Stop Sign
Can you go to jail for running a stop sign?
No, generally failure to stop at a stop sign would not result in jail time unless it caused an accident with injuries or was accompanied by more serious offenses.
How many points is failure to stop at a stop sign?
Typically 2 to 3 points are assessed on your license for a stop sign violation.
Should I fight a ticket for not stopping at a stop sign?
It may be worth contesting if you have a good argument against the charges or can get them reduced through plea bargaining or traffic school.
Does insurance go up if you don’t fully stop at a stop sign?
Insurance rates can increase with convictions for failure to stop, as it is considered a moving violation that raises risk.
Can you lose your license for not stopping at stop signs?
You are unlikely to have your license suspended for a single minor stop sign ticket, but multiple violations could potentially lead to suspension.
Is it a moving violation to roll through a stop sign?
Yes, failure to make a complete stop is considered a moving violation.
What’s the fine for not stopping at a stop sign in Florida?
In Florida, the penalty for not stopping at a stop sign on a first offense is approximately $164, although the precise amount can vary by county and city due to local fees and court costs.
Is it worth getting a lawyer for a stop sign ticket?
It may be beneficial to reduce fines and avoid license points and increased insurance costs.
Can a stop sign ticket be dismissed?
Yes, an experienced traffic lawyer may be able to get charges dismissed under certain circumstances.
How long does a stop sign violation stay on your record?
Typically 3 years from the date of conviction before it is removed from your DMV record.
Don’t Ignore The Sign, But If You Do…
Ignoring a stop sign is a serious traffic violation that can result in hefty fines, increased insurance premiums, and even jail time. It not only impacts you legally and financially, but it also poses significant risks to you and other road users.
However, everyone makes mistakes. If you’re facing charges for failing to stop at a stop sign, it’s important to seek legal assistance immediately. At Sulte Law Firm, we specialize in traffic law and are committed to providing our clients with the best defense possible.