Re: Does "Right Turn Only" Mean "No Left Turn"
You understand wrong. The center lane is marked that way to allow those who are traveling east or west to enter the center lane in anticipation and just prior to making a left turn INTO a driveway... etc. The markings of the center lane do not validate a movement that is forbidden by another traffic control device.
The other way to describe that is as follows: yes, a driver can indeed enter the center lane at that point, but not from the driveway you exited simply because you are only allowed a right turn from that driveway.
Fact is, the center lane has little relevance to your violation simply because (1) you committed the alleged violation before getting to the center lane, and (2) you were not cited for entering the center lane- that is NOT the element that the prosecution must prove-; you were cited from making an illegal left turn.
Well, lets deal with them once and for all...
Here is the code section you were cited for:
(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.
Here is another relevant code section:
California vehicle Code section 41101
(a) Whenever a traffic sign or traffic control device is placed in a position approximately conforming to the requirements of this code, it shall be presumed to have been placed by the official act or direction of lawful authority, unless the contrary is established by competent evidence.
(b) Any sign or traffic control device placed pursuant to this code and purporting to conform to the lawful requirements pertaining to it shall be presumed to comply with the requirements of this code unless the contrary is established by competent evidence.
Meaning, "go fish"... "Surmising" won't work. You carry the burden of proving the sign isn't official. And the only competent evidence would likely be an official letter from the agency/authority with jurisdiction over that roadway/area stating anything showing that they not only had no hand in the erection of the sign, but did not approve/allow/request it. There is a good chance that the private entity that private property belongs to or operates out of had to pay for the sign. It still would be an official traffic control device!
Again, the center lane and how it is marked is not relevant to your particular violation. This sign, the manner it is erected, the meaning it clearly gives and the direction it mandates is repeated around us hundreds of times.. Every “right turn only” lane is marked with either a sign with the words “Right Turn Only”, with a sign showing a right turn arrow (meaning no left turns/no u-turns and no straight through), or with a pavement marking showing a right turn arrow (or both, a sign and a pavement marking)... Same thing with a left turn only lane... Same thing with a “ONE WAY STREET”, and though I have seen “DO NOT ENTER” signs, you do not normally see those at every block. Instead, you see a directional arrow with the words “One Way”.
Penal law can also mandate an action and failure to follow that law means you are in violation and should be penalized!
Did the officer ask you for proof of registration? Because you should only drive a vehicle that is properly registered and only when the appropriate fees have been paid. It is unlawful for you to drive an unregistered vehicle or one where the fees are past due! You should also ensure that you have a valid drivers license in your possession before you set out on a trek. And you should always ensure that you carry -at least- the minimum required liability insurance on your vehicle(s).... I could go on and on! But you'll have quite a few statutory amendments to make a valid point there!
[QUOTE=Airborne;617460]Besides, one who exits a driveway does not always drive on the extreme right that is controlled by a RIGHT TURN ONLY sign; one who exits a driveway may drive on the middle of the exit (no markings) and, arguably, may not be controlled by RIGHT TURN ONLY sign./QUOTE]
There is no particular law that dictates how or where a sign should be posted. There are, of course, the guidelines and options offered via the CA-MUTCD, he manual On Uniform Traffic Control Device, and the California supplement.
Obviously, and upon erecting a sign, the assumption is made that it will be complied with by reasonable people, it needs to be posted in a position where a reasonable person is likely to have seen it and understood its intent and meaning. So for you to attempt to argue that theoretically, someone could have missed it, that someone was not paying attention to his surroundings, and when we drive, being attentive is a requirement not an option!
This Manual describes the application of traffic control devices, but shall not be a legalGuidance:
requirement for their installation.
The decision to use a particular device at a particular location should be made on the basis of either an engineering study or the application of engineering judgment. Thus, while this Manual provides Standards, Guidance, and Options for design and application of traffic control devices, this Manual should not be considered a substitute for engineering judgment.
Not even close!
Normally, and in most citations where a violation of a sign was alleged, and someone is desperate for a defense (which typically doesn't exist simply because they were caught red handed), I would suggest a “guilty with an explanation” plea... In this case though, you don't even have an explanation!
I am going to have to agree with Free9man and flyingron that your only hope is that you may find that the sign was not erected by way of official authority and that they had no knowledge if it... This will obviously be requested via a California Public Records Act to the agency with such authority... But before you go down that -often bumpy- road, think about it, how would the entity owning or using that private property benefit from posting a regulatory traffic control sign if it had no legal basis or justification?
Really??? And yet you come here claiming that “Right Turn Only” is “ambiguous and misleading”???
I would guess that there is something like JEO or JWO (meaning "Just East Of" or "Just West Of") "intersection name"... Even if that is not the case, officers will usually write a few brief notes regarding location of violation/direction of travel/any relevant signage as well as a few more details on their copy of the citation...
How does it "describe it happening that way"
If you're looking at that little small chart they have on the citation itself... My guess is the officer used it as a way to show direction of travel but not necessarily an indication of anything intersection related.
Feel free to redact the citation of personal information and post a copy/image of it here... That migh tbe a better way to provide an answer instead of continuing to make guesses!
I am right 97% of the time... Who cares about the other 4%!