My car is registered in California, but I was on a road trip and accidentally passed a red light in Chicago, Illinois. It was yellow, but quickly became red. And I noticed the camera flash (it was 4AM and no traffic). I was surprised.

Generally, how does it work given it's a second state? Should I be concerned?

  • What does "It was yellow, but quickly became red" mean? Was it yellow or red when you crossed the line entering the intersection? If it was yellow when you crossed the line, you have not run a red light.
    – user102008
    Commented May 21 at 16:36

1 Answer 1


Illinois collects the fine; California treats it the same as if you had run a red light in California

Both Illinois and California are parties to the Nonresident Violator Compact and the Driver Licence Compact.

The former means that Chicago will forward the ticket to Illinois who will forward it to California who will forward it to you. You can contest the ticket in various ways including by mail but your prospects of success are slim. If you successfully contest, that's the end of the matter. If you don't contest or lose, you have to pay the $100 fine.

The latter means that if the offence is upheld or not contested, California will apply 1 point to your licence.

  • How about Texas plates? Is it similar to California?
    – Mary
    Commented May 11, 2021 at 12:13
  • @TinaJ, it looks like it does, see here: carinsurance.com/… Commented May 11, 2021 at 20:04

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