CA Vehicle Code (CVC) 22100.5, Turning and Stopping and Turning Signals addresses illegal U-turns. It states, “No driver shall make a U-turn at an intersection controlled by official traffic control devices except from the far left hand lane…” CVC 21801, Right of Way, prescribes the action necessary to make a legal U-turn when there is no traffic control device present. It states when turning left or making a U-turn from the left lane, the driver is responsible for yielding the right of way. Plus, CVC 22105 dictates that a driver must have an unobstructed view out to 200 feet before making a U-turn on the highway. For truckers, this is usually a lot easier than for a car driver.
Illegal U-Turn Penalties, California & FMCSA
The penalties for a regular “Joe or Josephine” are less severe than those for a CDL holder. In California, if convicted, the regular driver faces a fine of around $230-250. In Roseville, it is usually $235. However, the fine is the least expensive portion of the penalty. The DMV will also assess 1.5 Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS) points for any conviction of an illegal U-turn.
When a driver accumulates four NOTS points within a year, six within two years, or eight within three, they are subject to become a “prima facie” Negligent Operator. According to Cornell Legal Information Institute (LII), prima facie, translated from Latin is “at first sight.” Which means, it must be looked at more closely before your driver’s license (DL) gets suspended.
In addition to the NOTS point assessment, the FMCSA will assess five CSA severity points for either failing to yield right of way, illegal U-turn, illegal turn, or improper lane changes, unless the maneuver is found to have caused an accident If the maneuver caused an accident it could open up many other penalties, both civil and criminal, if negligence was part of the investigation findings.
The DMV Hearing
If requested by the driver within ten days of the DMV mailing an Order of Suspension/Probation, the closer look will takeplace at a DMV Hearing. Otherwise, the suspension becomes effective 34 days after. The good news for the CDL holder is that the DMV Hearing can look at the miles driven by the driver to allow six, eight, or ten NOTS points before suspension if the exposure warrants it.
However, the CDL holder must request and attend a hearing and convince the panel they should get more leniency due to their extended exposure. If the driver cannot get more points due to the miles they have driven, it might be possible to get NOTS points removed. Although neither the DMV nor the State requires you to have representation, a traffic attorney knows which tickets and convictions the board have authorized for removal previously.
Three Possible Legal Defenses You Should Discuss with a Traffic Ticket Attorney
Although we know most CDL holders are not looking for an excuse, we know there are circumstances where LEO misunderstood or did not see your action correctly, and you have no choice but to challenge the ticket.
To dispute a traffic violation in Woodland Traffic Court, the driver or their appointed representation must attend an arraignment, plead not guilty, and likely schedule another hearing date. Although, it’s possible to resolve the issue in one court session.
Clearing time for two sessions of court could take all day, and due to CDL holder’s schedules, it’s nearly impossible for them to attend. However, hiring an attorney is likely less expensive than missing shipments, and in almost every case, a knowledgeable and experienced attorney will get a dismissal or reduced no-point conviction. This is quite often true for those who practice only traffic law. They know who to talk to at the courts and to whom they need to submit requests for dismissal.
There are basically three defenses used by most traffic ticket attorney:
- LEO’s view of the U-turn/situation was obstructed.
- The intersection was not marked “no U-turn,” or the sign was obscured (where a sign is required).
- The driver was not, in fact, making a U-turn.
Although other circumstances could warrant a challenge of an illegal U-turn ticket, those are the most common. The best course is to always consult with a traffic law professional before disputing a ticket or scheduling a DMV hearing.
Talk to CDL-Friendly Traffic Lawyers About a DMV Hearing in Woodland, CA
Call Bigger & Harman at (661) 349-9300 when you need assistance with an illegal U-turn, another traffic ticket, or a DMV Hearing. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.
We are traffic attorneys who protect the driving privileges of CA and out-of-state drivers who may have gotten ticketed on I-5 around Sacramento or Woodland. We know the traffic code and procedures and can resolve your traffic issue with a one-time affordable fee that never changes regardless of how long it takes to resolve your issue. Call us today for a free phone consultation.
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