CA Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 22102, Turning and Stopping and Turning Signals, warns drivers, “No person in a business district shall make a U-turn, except at an intersection, or on a divided highway where an opening has been provided in accordance with Section 21651.”
Many novice or new commercial drivers who haven’t driven much in CA are unaware of this section of traffic code. However, most traffic court judges subscribe to the age-old rule, ignorantia juris non excusat, or “Ignorance of the law is no excuse.”
Typically, there are three defenses for an illegal U-turn in a business district:
- The driver didn’t make a U-turn.
- The U-turn was not within a business district.
- The U-turn was necessary.
According to the Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute (LII) WEX Definition Team:
“Excuse is an explanation stated in court as the grounds for exempting oneself from liability. In other words, a defendant with a valid excuse will not suffer the usual penalty for their actions.”
Therefore, a knowledgeable and experienced traffic attorney could argue that this “excuse” had merit. The judge might agree to dismiss the illegal U-turn in a business district. In some courts, there is also a possibility that the Judge could offer the driver a reduced no-point conviction. Typically, a no-point conviction is a non-moving violation, similar to a parking ticket. When there are no points, the employer, the DMV, and the DOT FMCSA are not notified. Consult a CA traffic attorney who practices in Truckee Traffic Court.
Why Hire a Traffic Attorney to Resolve an Illegal U-Turn in a Business District Ticket
Some would ask, “why hire a traffic attorney to resolve an illegal U-turn ticket when it is typically only a $237 fine?”
The commercial driver’s license (CDL) must maintain a clean driving record and protect their Pre-employment Screening Program (PSP) record at the DOT FMCSA. Fleet managers are charged with keeping the fleet insurance premium as low as possible. All moving violations affect that premium. Yours could be the “straw that breaks the camel’s back.” The fleet manager could terminate the driver with the most recent moving violation to maintain their Safety Measurement System (SMS) percentile.
When a fleet’s DOT number has too many violations, every truck or bus using that DOT number could be pulled into the “chicken coop” or weight station for inspection. It’s a “Catch-22” because most Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) or CHP inspectors can find several violations on an 18-wheeler or charter bus.
Therefore, it is advantageous for the commercial motor vehicle (CMV) driver to hire a traffic attorney to get a potential favorable resolution or reduced charge, and some traffic attorneys, like Bigger & Harman, APC, provide a free initial consultation.
For additional reading on the subject, read our blog, What Do I Do About This Illegal U-Turn Ticket.
Ask Bigger & Harman, APC, About Your Illegal U-Turn in a Business District Ticket
We frequently defend drivers with traffic tickets in Truckee, CA, and provide an initial consultation, even by email or phone, to commercial drivers with various traffic tickets and those needing assistance with a DMV NOTS hearing. Contact us with the details of your situation.
The DMV Portal CA Commercial Driver Handbook Copyright 2022.
CVC Section 22102, Turning and Stopping and Turning Signals.
Cornell Law School LII WEX Definition Team, Excuse.