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What makes a rolling stop illegal?

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When making a right turn at a seemingly empty intersection, it is not uncommon for New Yorkers to slow down but never come to a complete stop. But if a police officer catches you doing a rolling stop, you could end up with an expensive ticket or even potentially lose your driver’s license.

The relevant state law says, “Except when directed to proceed by a police officer, every driver of a vehicle approaching a stop sign shall stop at a clearly marked stop line,” or before entering the crosswalk or intersection if no stop line exists.

The punishment for a rolling stop

Whether you came to a complete stop is not always clear. You might believe that you stopped briefly before turning or proceeding into the intersection, but the police officer who pulled you over can have a different story. If you get a ticket, it could cost you up to $243 for a first offense — $150 plus a surcharge of $93.

Perhaps even more seriously, the violation will add three points to your license. An additional offense within 18 months would mean another three points. Six points within 18 months trigger a Driver Responsibility Assessment fee of at least $300. And 11 points within 18 months means the state Department of Motor Vehicles could suspend your license.

Therefore, a ticket for failing to obey a stop sign or red light can be serious. Before you pay the fine and accept the points on your license, you should know your legal options. Depending on the circumstances that led to your ticket, you might be able to get the charges reduced or dropped completely.

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