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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    4

    Exclamation Failure to Yield to a Pedestrian in Crosswalk, VC 21950(A)

    My question involves a traffic ticket from the state of: California

    I was cited for failing to yield to a pedestrian, as the title implies. One morning i was driving my wife to work. Since there is 2 schools in the vicinity of our house, morning traffic is extremely heavy, and backed up. I finally had approached the four way intersection, when the light turned red.So as the light turned green, i was the first car, and i happened to be turning left. The elementary school facilitates volunteers to walk the kids across the streets in the morning, so as they were crossing where i wanted to turn left, i patiently waited as they crossed the median. They (a group of several juveniles and traffic "guard") were nearing the end of the entire crosswalk. I slowly moved up in my attempt at a left turn. As several children had made it safely across the entirety of the crosswalk and were on the sidewalk, i started my turn. The remaining pedestrians were no more than 3 steps away from the sidewalk. All were well ahead of my vehicle (almost done crossing, as i said) before i had even started to turn. I live on a federal base so i am used to the police presence at these interesections in the morning. i was well aware, that as the first car at my light turning left, i was being watched. so i completed my turn and was pulled over, and cited. The officer who stopped me claimed that as long as a pedestrian is on the crosswalk, "they own the crosswalk and i cant touch it". As i said, i was well aware of the police watchiing me and had waited almost the entire light to turn. I was ignorant of what the officer had told me.

    It is my understanding that the law states that i must YIELD to the pedestrians. I believe i satisfied this requirement. I have court tomorrow and would greatly appreciate any input or additional info.

    thank you so much in advance for taking the time to read my post and help me.

    I

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Cited for Vc21950 (A) Pedestrian in Crosswalk, Court Tomorrow, Am I Right Cali

    Quote Quoting nikkic
    View Post
    The officer who stopped me claimed that as long as a pedestrian is on the crosswalk, "they own the crosswalk and i cant touch it".
    Sorry but that is my interpretation of that code section as well... And most 21950(a) cases that I have seen/heard of were decided based on that premise. Best you could do is make your argument and see if the judge will agree.

    Oh, and if tomorrow is your first court appearance and unless you previously entered your plea (either by mail or in person), then tomorrow is only your "arraignment" during which you will simply be entering a plea of "guilty" and paying the fine or a plea of "not guilty" and requesting a Trial By Declaration or an in court trial.
    I am right 97% of the time... Who cares about the other 4%!

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Cited for Vc21950 (A) Pedestrian in Crosswalk, Court Tomorrow, Am I Right Cali

    Quote Quoting That Guy
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    Sorry but that is my interpretation of that code section as well... And most 21950(a) cases that I have seen/heard of were decided based on that premise. Best you could do is make your argument and see if the judge will agree.

    Oh, and if tomorrow is your first court appearance and unless you previously entered your plea (either by mail or in person), then tomorrow is only your "arraignment" during which you will simply be entering a plea of "guilty" and paying the fine or a plea of "not guilty" and requesting a Trial By Declaration or an in court trial.
    first of all, Thanks for replying

    Secondly, from reading the forums here i was under the impression that a valid argument can be made that Yielding doesnt always mean "not touching the line"

    if anyone has any idea how i should approach fighting this, I'm all ears.

    Also i have already entered a plea of not guilty. And this would be my first offense as well.

    thanks again!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Cited for Vc21950 (A) Pedestrian in Crosswalk, Court Tomorrow, Am I Right Cali

    Quote Quoting nikkic
    View Post
    first of all, Thanks for replying

    Secondly, from reading the forums here i was under the impression that a valid argument can be made that Yielding doesnt always mean "not touching the line"

    if anyone has any idea how i should approach fighting this, I'm all ears.

    Also i have already entered a plea of not guilty. And this would be my first offense as well.

    thanks again!
    First of all, you're very welcome...

    Second, I never suggested that my argument or that of the officer are the only ones out there. I only based my answer on what "I" believe to be the correct interpretation of the code section as well as what I do when approaching a crosswalk with pedestrians.

    As for the impression you got from reading the few threads on the topic, I can honestly say that I have not seen anyone come back with an update that an argument that contradicts my understanding was successful in court. Maybe you'll be the one come to back and let us know if it worked for you or not!

    While I agree that "yield" does not necessarily mean stop, 21950(a) does require you to "yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk"... Not "yield to pedestrians in the cross walk until they are out of your way" (and there are a few states where the statutory requirement does allow for the latter. Not California though). So that to me means: yield (and/or stop if need be) until the pedestrian is out of the crosswalk.

    here is an example that may further articulate my point: you approach a right turn with a yield sign... You check to your left as you approach and see that there is a vehicle approaching from your left (cross traffic). Do you simply continue to roll through the turn and enter the road way, or might you need to STOP at some point in order to let the vehicle that has the right of way proceed through before you enter the turn/roadway?

    So despite the fact that the sign only says "YIELD", there are times when you may have to come to a "STOP" before you turn.

    I am not trying to discourage you from fighting it. I am simply trying to explain to you why I believe the officer's interpretation is an accurate representation of what the code section says. You've gone this far, might as well make the trip to court, make your argument before the judge and hope he agrees with you.

    And yes, if you've previously entered your plea then tomorrow must be "show time" for you. Best of luck!

    (Sorry for the long reply).
    I am right 97% of the time... Who cares about the other 4%!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Cited for Vc21950 (A) Pedestrian in Crosswalk, Court Tomorrow, Am I Right Cali

    again, i appreciate your response.

    In my opinion, since the pedestrians were walking away from me, and there was no interference from my vehicle, there was no way i could have failed to give the right of way. Especially since they were more than halfway across the midway point of the lane.

    As i understand it, "right of way" means the right to immediate use of the crosswalk.

    Though i understand you differ with me, i still think there is something to what im saying
    I am especially interested in any opinions that agree with mine, anyone who has had a similar experience, or anyone who has an idea of how to articulate my claim of innocence in a convincing way to the judge. Ive had no experience in court. thanks all!

  6. #6
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    Feb 2008
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    Default Re: Cited for Vc21950 (A) Pedestrian in Crosswalk, Court Tomorrow, Am I Right Cali

    nikkic,

    You were caught in a scam. Period. The interpretation of the statute used in your case (and many like yours) is just ridiculous.

    The interpretation That Guy presents is obnoxious. In his scenario of approaching a right turn with a yield sign, you need stop ONLY if your proceeding would impede the progress of the truck. Also, you would NOT stop and wait for the truck got off the road! The idea of the "truck owns the crossroad and you can't touch it while he is on it" insults the intelligence of the most dim motorist.

    By the cop's interpretation, you could be in the right lane of a 6 lane roadway (three lanes in each direction with a center turn lane... 7 lanes total) and a pedestrian could be crossing from your right to left. If the pedestrian was almost to the opposite curb (nearly 100 ft away and walking in the opposite direction) and you made a legal right turn, you would be guilty of violating this statute. That simply makes no sense.

    I would think that an argument based on the opinion you have stated should be successful if you have a reasonable and unbiased judge. However, I don't think there are very many judges like that in traffic court. In fact, my experience has been that most judges will blatantly ignore the law in traffic cases. You should present a rational defense, but be prepared for the judge not to hear anything you say. I have said before, this scam really needs someone to take a case to appellate court and get some clarity on the issue. That person could be you.

  7. #7
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    Feb 2011
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    Default Re: Failure to Yield to a Pedestrian in Crosswalk, VC 21950(A)

    Just wanted to update everyone.

    The case was dismissed because the officer didnt show up. And for the record, for what its worth, half of the officers didnt show up either. there were four cases at my time slot, and only two officers. Im certainly not complaining but i would have liked to seen if i was in the right. i had a feeling i was. Thanks to everyone who read/replied

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Failure to Yield to a Pedestrian in Crosswalk, VC 21950(A)

    Congrats and thanks for the update.
    I am right 97% of the time... Who cares about the other 4%!

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Failure to Yield to a Pedestrian in Crosswalk, VC 21950(A)

    Of course the cop didn't show up... it's part of the scam! You charge 100 people with a ridiculous interpretation of a statute. Of those 100, 95 just pay their fine (with or without traffic school) because arguing in court is too much trouble. That's pure profit. So, the 5 that do go to court to contest get to skate because the cop doesn't show up. Great profit margin for the state. But, if the cop did show up and the court found the defendant guilty, then there would be the possibility for an appeal that may actually clarify the interpretation of the statute. Then, the scam would be over!! So, as long as there is no appellate court ruling that clarifies the statute, the scam continues.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
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    533

    Default Re: Failure to Yield to a Pedestrian in Crosswalk, VC 21950(A)

    Here you go- even better...

    A "cross walk" does not need to have white lines defining it!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COZGtm2SICU

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