Alabama Red Light Camera Laws

Red light cameras in Alabama could get you slapped with a fine up to $100 for a first offense, along with points on your license and possible jail time.
Written by R.E. Fulton
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
If a red light camera catches you running a red light in
, you could receive a fine from $60 to $100 for a first offense, along with three points on your license and up to 10 days in jail.
According to the
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)
, about 127,000 people are injured each year in crashes caused by drivers running red lights—and the victims usually aren’t the drivers themselves. 
In other words, running a red light puts everyone else on the road in danger. 
To try to deter drivers from committing this serious traffic infraction, some jurisdictions have installed red light traffic cameras to capture footage of drivers running red lights and issue tickets based on that footage. 
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Yes. Alabama is one of the states that permits some local governments to install red light cameras for traffic enforcement. In 2008, the state capital of Montgomery became the first city in Alabama to install red light cameras
Today, the following Alabama cities use red light cameras: 
  • Auburn
  • Center Point
  • Midfield
  • Montgomery
  • Opelika
  • Phenix City
  • Selma
  • Tuscaloosa

How does a red light camera work?

A red light camera uses sensors to capture still or video footage of a car entering an intersection after the light has turned red
For example, in Montgomery, red light cameras take three pictures of your car as it moves through the intersection: 
  • An image of the car before crossing the white line that shows the light is red
  • An image of the car in the intersection while the light is red
  • A close-up image of the license plate 
Those three images in combination prove that the driver ran the red light and provide law enforcement with identifying information. Using that information, police can send a notice of the violation to the car’s owner, who is usually the same driver who ran the light.  

What should I do if I receive a red light camera ticket?

If you open your mail to discover a red light camera ticket, you’ve got two options. You can either pay the fine and accept the other penalties or request a court date to appeal the citation
The penalties for running a red light in Alabama are steep since this violation is considered a misdemeanor. For a first offense, drivers can be given: 
Keep in mind that the $100 fine is just the base amount—factor in assessment fees and other miscellaneous costs, and the final amount you pay to the court for your slip-up could climb significantly
Your penalties will also increase if this isn’t your first offense! Here’s how it all breaks down. 
Number of previous offenses
Base fine
Maximum jail time
10 days
30 days
2 or more
3 months
Remember, you’ll have three points added to your license for every violation. If you rack up 12 or more points in two years or less, you could face
license suspension

How to pay a red light camera ticket 

Follow the instructions on your ticket to pay your fine. Every jurisdiction has a different system for traffic citations, so the exact procedure will depend on where you received the ticket. 
If you ran a red light in Montgomery, good news—your fine will be slightly lower, as Montgomery typically assigns only a $60
to red light traffic tickets.  

How to fight a red light camera ticket

Paying your fine is the fastest way to make the ticket go away, but in some cases, it’s better to fight the citation. You might want to appeal your red light camera ticket if: 
  • There was inadequate signage at the intersection notifying you of camera enforcement 
  • You ran the red light in response to directions from law enforcement
  • You ran the light to yield right-of-way to an emergency vehicle
  • You weren’t the owner of the car at the time of the violation
  • Your car was stolen and it was the thief who ran the red light 
  • You chose not to stop due to hazardous
    road conditions
These arguments can be compelling in the case of a red light camera citation, so it’s worth requesting a court date. You’ll get the chance to explain your version of events to the judge, who will either dismiss the citation or compel you to pay. 
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Keep in mind that Alabama only sends red light camera tickets through the mail, so if you receive anything by email or text that claims to be a red light camera citation, you’re probably looking at a scam! In general, if the information on the ticket seems incorrect or incomplete, it could be fake—the best way is to check with your local DMV for confirmation.
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