This is a description of the guidelines offered in the MUTCD.
And then it goes on to describe section headings such as: Standard, Guidance, Option...
Quoting Page I-2 of the 2010 CA-MUTCD
then it adds:
However, the term "shall" in the MUTCD does not equate to the term "shall" used in statutes and code sections in the vehicle code, for example.
Quoting Page I-2 of the 2010 CA-MUTCD
The standards for a "No-U-Turn" sign are described under Section 2B.19 Turn Prohibition Signs (R3-1 through R3-4, and R3-18), which starts on page 2B-18 of the 2010 CA-MUTCD. However, the standards/guidelines/options listed there do not describe the current circumstances (a no-u-turn sign prohibiting u-turns at midblock as opposed to the end of a block/i.e. at an intersection) ...
So in this case, what maters (based on VC 21461)(a) is as follows:
21461. (a) It is unlawful for a driver of a vehicle to fail to obey a sign or signal defined as regulatory in the federal Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, or a Department of Transportation approved supplement to that manual of a regulatory nature erected or maintained to enhance traffic safety and operations or to indicate and carry out the provisions of this code or a local traffic ordinance or resolution adopted pursuant to a local traffic ordinance, or to fail to obey a device erected or maintained by lawful authority of a public body or official.
As long as the officer can describe that a sign is posted prohibiting a turn, and that you made a u-turn at that location, then its pretty much a straight shot... Not much to argue or debate. You can sit here and analyze the code section and you'll find that the sign used (shown on Google Maps) is in fact an R3-4 sign described under section 2B.19 and it is also listed under Table 2B-101(CA). California Regulatory Signs. Additionally and per VC section 41101, the court can presume that the sign was erected, maintained and originally authorized by the California Dept of Transportation or the local (city/county) public works department. That makes it valid, lawful and enforceable. You can try to rebut that presumption but you would need what is described as competent evidence which, short of a letter from Caltrans and/or the city saying "we did not erect that sign and don't know who did", you're not going to get anywhere and I doubt it was erected by some random person, so you're not likely to get such a letter!
As for orientation of the sign, its height, position, location... etc, all of those are side issues that originally came down to the engineer and a term used in that first paragraph above called:
Engineering Judgment—the evaluation of available pertinent information, and the application of appropriate principles, experience, education, discretion, Standards, guidance, and practices as contained in this Manual and other sources, for the purpose of deciding upon the applicability, design, operation, or installation of a traffic control device. Engineering judgment shall be exercised by an engineer, or by an individual working under the supervision of an engineer, through the application of procedures and criteria established by the engineer. Documentation of engineering judgment is not required.
I can take a few guesses here but putting up that sign on a 6' to 7' pole in the center of the roadway there would make it a deadly weapon... The way it is now, someone hits it, they can drag it under their car through the entire neighborhood, who cares! Also, if it was posted at a 6' of 7' height, the first person getting cited will claim "I was looking to see when the bumpy center divider bumps ended so ?I can make my u-turn, so I wasn't looking high up, I didn't see the sign".
In fact you've said the same thing...
well, if you're looking to see "when they ended", then it got to a point when you were staring the sign in its face!!!
But there is more, in your version, you actually contradict yourself... In your first post you said:
And then same paragraph, one sentence later, you say:
And then in your next post you say:
What "oncoming traffic"? There isn't any oncoming traffic if there are no cars in the area!
As for the lighting issue, regulatory signs are required to be painted with reflective material that reacts to the minimal amount of light. And with this sign being directly at or near the level of your headlights, it doesn't take much to turn it into a torch light, so that excuse isn't going to work either!
I'm not posting any of this to embarrass you, but to show you how you could screw yourself in court. Even without the contradictions and mistakes, you really have no defense!
Really, compared to the officer's testimony that he saw you make an illegal U-Turn against a posted sign, whether you did so on the main street or on a side street, there is no potential for you to raise any doubt. In fact with the sign in such an odd position, I find it more difficult to avoid it that it is to miss seeing it.
But let me go back to the excuses for a second... This entire situation boils down to a "guilty with an explanation" plea at the arraignment. meaning you plead guilty, admit that you either saw the sign, or pretend that you didn't (either way, its an excuse), sound remorseful and ask the judge for sympathy, and hope he will cut you a break and lower your fine, then you will take traffic school to avoid the violation point and call it a day.
If by "going to court to fight my ticket next Monday" you mean this is your first appearance, then I recommend you do ^that^. If you actually plead not guilty and are going to trial on Monday, then it might be too late for the fine reduction (you probably already posted full bail), and depending on the judge it might also be too late for traffic school although you might get that chance immediately before the trial. If you do get the offer, I would take it and run unless you are not concerned about insurance premium. If you're not concerned, wait it out to see if the officer appears, if he doesn't move for a dismissal assuming the judge doesn't dismiss on his/her own!
With what you lack in merit to your arguments, I would say it is pretty difficult!
Again, you are basically saying "yes, I committed the violation, but I did not see the sign"!
to be honest, and not to make you even more nervous, and this may depend on whether courts are busy in your county or not, but usually, traffic court usually moves fairly quickly. You will be allowed an opportunity to cross examine the officer after he testifies and or to testify on your own behalf. Normally, I would say refrain from doing so simply because you are likely to make the mistakes I alluded to above. In this case, and though this (in my opinion) should have come at the arraignment, you may want to explain your version to the judge... If you do decide to do that, keep it short and simple... And prioritize your statements from most important to least important because it will come a time when the judge will likely cut you off at some point when he's heard enough.
It is understandable. it is challenging and intimidating. But it is an experience and I can tell you that regardless of the outcome, going through it will be like lifting a huge weight of your shoulders! You might feel ticked off later if you lose, but really when yo realize you never had a chance, you won't let that part bother you much!