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I am from India, and planning to visit the USA. I have plan to self drive at Los Angeles with my family and have a doubts if someone can help me.

I have gone through the regulations and driving rules and will 100% comply, but what if I accidentally or unintentionally cross the intersection while trying to stop during the yellow light or cross the intersection while the light is yellow but could not pass through the other intersection before the light is turned red.

How much is the fine I need to pay and how can I pay?
Can I pay through my credit card, as I may be scheduled to leave from USA the next day.

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    It is exceedingly rare to get a ticket for driving through an intersection on a yellow signal. But that does not of course make your question any less useful. Travelers are perhaps especially prone to getting tickets because of unfamiliarity with local traffic laws, and there's always a chance for even the most careful of drivers to get a ticket. Even if a ticket is issued unjustly, the simplest course of action for a visitor is often to pay it. – phoog Mar 20 at 12:04
  • I'm not sure if we should entertain hypothetical questions, such as this where the OP is speculating about commiting a traffic offence without yet having set foot in the country. – nikhil Mar 20 at 15:08
  • @nikhil: A big part of successful travel is being prepared for contingencies. I think hypothetical questions are fine, if they are about situations that a traveler has a significant chance of encountering, and I think this qualifies. – Nate Eldredge Mar 20 at 21:53
  • @nateeldredge, while I agree that being prepared is a good thing but this is excessive. A traffic ticket doesn't need to be paid on the spot and have instructions on how they can be paid or appealed. A question like what happens if I commit an offence/crime isn't relevant to most travelers. – nikhil Mar 20 at 21:59
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Typically, if a police officer saw you, he will stop you immediately and give you a ticket. You can pay that from anywhere in the world online (credit card, etc) or via a check.

If you were photographed by an automated system, the ticket will be mailed to the registered owner; if it is a rental car, to the rental car company. They will tell the police your name and address, and charge you a fee to your credit card for executing this request (this is not your ticket fee, only the fee to the rental car company to tell the police your name).
The police will then decide to sent you the ticket or not, depending on gravity and agreements between countries - if you are gone from the USA, unless you ran someone over, they will probably just toss it - or they will mail it to you.
It could be that it is still active on file when you come back in the future, and if you apply for a Visa or move to the USA, they might come and collect the ticket.

Aside from that, if you pass the stopping line while the light is still yellow, you are good. You would have to enter the crossing after it turns red to get in trouble.

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    I would remove the "a second" part before "after it turns red"... somebody might take it literally. ;) – junkyardsparkle Mar 20 at 4:44
  • I think that some traffic codes actually do have penalties for entering an intersection on a yellow light, but that they are (almost?) never enforced. The bit about the police dropping automatic enforcement tickets "depending on gravity and agreements between countries" seems entirely plausible, but this is the first I've heard of it. Do you have a source to support the assertion, or perhaps personal experience of such a situation? – phoog Mar 20 at 12:09
  • Whether other traffic codes do or not, California's traffic code appears not to have a penalty for driving through a yellow light. – phoog Mar 20 at 12:18
  • @phoog , yes, dozens of experiences. What else would they do? What do you think can a police officer in - for example - California do to get the local police in India to collect a ticket fee and transfer it? Whom would he even call about it? – Aganju Mar 20 at 13:27
  • @Aganju are you saying that you've received dozens of notifications from rental companies that they have provided your name, address, and license number to police in response to an automated enforcement summons, where the police have never sent you the ticket? I find that implausible, not least because I doubt that you've incurred dozens of such violations. California police will of course not expect Indian police to collect the fine, but sending the summons makes the person liable, and the fine collectible on return to the US. It also can lead to suspension of driving privileges. – phoog Mar 20 at 13:45

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