Hundreds, if not thousands of people die every year due to vehicular accidents. As a matter of fact, in 2019, an estimated number of 38,000 are reported to have lost their lives in car crashes. And as the number of car owners and operators is rising, so will this statistic. That is why state officials have made an effort to set road rules and regulations to avoid such fatal instances from happening. These laws are designed to keep traffic and pedestrians safe. However, despite the strict implementation, there are still people who break them. One of the most commonly violated rules of the road is yielding to a stop sign. California Vehicle Code 21803a VC clearly states that all vehicles should stop before passing a stop sign. Violating this can lead to penalties under the CVC 22450. Halting before stop signs may be trivial at first; however, following this one little law can significantly reduce injuries and fatalities caused by car crashes.
“The driver of any vehicle approaching any intersection which is controlled by a yield right-of-way sign shall, upon arriving at the sign, yield the right-of-way to any vehicles which have entered the intersection, or which are approaching on the intersecting highway close enough to constitute an immediate hazard, and shall continue to yield the right-of-way to those vehicles until he or she can proceed with reasonable safety.” This means that all drivers should halt or at least slow down when approaching a stop sign. Running through a stop sign can lead to violating California Vehicle Code 22540 VC.
This statute claims that California drivers should stop at the presence of stop signs. This is to avoid vehicular accidents because these signs are strategically placed in areas to declare the proper right of way.
Penalties for disregarding Stop Signs
Running pass stop signs are considered as infractions and it can result in getting a. Traffic tickets and b. Accumulating points for the driver's driving record.
The cost of violating Stop Sign regulations is $238 plus all the additional court charges and fees. As an infraction, the violator is not subjected to serve jail time. However, failure to appear in court to settle the violation can result in prosecution under California Vehicle Code 40508 VC. This can give sanctions to the accused even if he/she was proven guilty of violating the original infraction or not. Violating this statute (CVC 40508) can result in misdemeanor charges, and the penalties include up to six months in county jail or a fine of up to $1,000.
Aside from monetary charges, the violation can also earn the driver a point for their DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) driver's record. The points accumulated are reflected on the driver's history and are presented on the insurance carrier. If a person earns a certain amount of points within a specific length of time, the California DMV can label the driver as a negligent operator. This can suspend or revoke one's driving privileges. To avoid accumulating points, the driver can, though not mandated, opt to attend a traffic school.
Legal Defenses for Violating Stop Signs
The driver can stand for themselves in court when it comes to fighting minor traffic violations and tickets. However, it would be more beneficial to the accused if they hire a professional lawyer to represent them in the law court.
An experienced lawyer might better settle the events than a non-law practitioner because they have more experience resolving legal disputes. The defense lawyer might even find a way to reduce or dismiss the accused's charges and violations. Also, the defendant does not have to be physically present in the court during sessions when represented by an attorney. The lawyer might include the following in the defense:
- Challenging the circumstances,
- Justify the act,
- Argue about the Sign.
Challenging the circumstances is when the defense questions the circumstances as an excuse as to why the defendant ran past a stop sign.
Justifying the act is when the defense tries to reason that what the driver did was something out of necessity e.g., to avoid accidents.
Arguing about the Sign is when the defense argues about the condition, location, and/or quality of the sign.
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