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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    2

    Default Cited for Turning Left when Right Turn Only Sign Posted - Obstructed Sign

    My question involves a traffic ticket from the state of: California 21461(a)cvc

    I was pulled over today because I made a left turn out of a strip mall
    parking lot where a "Right Turn Only" sign was posted. I honestly
    didn't see the sign prior to being sighted but that's neither here nor
    there for a properly posted sign.

    After receiving the citation and voicing to the deputy that a sign was
    not posted, I returned to the location in question. I didn't pay any
    attention to the sign nor notice it because of what you see in the
    photos:





    Is this something I can contest in court with confidence?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    Toledo, OH
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    16,307

    Default Re: Cited for Turning Left when Right Turn Only Sign Posted - Obstructed Sign

    Is this something I can contest in court with confidence?
    Only if you want the judge to ask you if you ate a bowl of stupid for breakfast.

    It's plainly obvious what the sign says, and it's plainly obvious that what you're calling "obstruction" is the work of bored kids with too much time and too few brains on their hands. A sign with an obstructed view would be obscured by tree branches or hidden behind other signage, not merely slapped with a few stickers.

    Sorry, no, it's not going to wash, and trying it would only cause you public embarrassment. Don't.
    I'm not a lawyer, but I play a researcher on the internet!
    Caution: I bite. WARNING: Do not send questions or complaints by PM. I'm likely to post them publicly and embarrass you half to death.
    I'm training for the MS Society's Bike to the Bay - and blogging about it!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    2

    Default Re: Cited for Turning Left when Right Turn Only Sign Posted - Obstructed Sign

    Quote Quoting LawResearcherMissy
    View Post
    Only if you want the judge to ask you if you ate a bowl of stupid for breakfast.

    It's plainly obvious what the sign says, and it's plainly obvious that what you're calling "obstruction" is the work of bored kids with too much time and too few brains on their hands. A sign with an obstructed view would be obscured by tree branches or hidden behind other signage, not merely slapped with a few stickers.

    Sorry, no, it's not going to wash, and trying it would only cause you public embarrassment. Don't.
    Missy, I understand your point and it's exactly the reason why I hesitate to pursue this. However, the technicalities that tempt me to fight it is this:

    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.

    Section 1A.05 Maintenance of Traffic Control Devices From the California Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices
    Guidance:
    Functional maintenance of traffic control devices should be used to determine if certain devices need to be changed to meet current traffic conditions.
    Physical maintenance of traffic control devices should be performed to retain the legibility and visibility of the device, and to retain the proper functioning of the device.

    Support:
    Clean, legible, properly mounted devices in good working condition command the respect of road users.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    OH10
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    17,019

    Default Re: Cited for Turning Left when Right Turn Only Sign Posted - Obstructed Sign

    Only if you want the judge to ask you if you ate a bowl of stupid for breakfast.
    We need a like button. If you actually want to attempt explaining to a judge you could not understand what the sign meant, go for it. I hope CA does not have strict drivers license retest provisions for people referred by police or court officials.

  5. #5
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    Jan 2008
    Location
    Toledo, OH
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    16,307

    Default Re: Cited for Turning Left when Right Turn Only Sign Posted - Obstructed Sign

    Sugar, it's not me you have to convince. It's the judge, and I promise, s/he's heard this nonsense before and has laughed 'em out of court.

    But you're going to do whatever you want to do, so off you go.
    I'm not a lawyer, but I play a researcher on the internet!
    Caution: I bite. WARNING: Do not send questions or complaints by PM. I'm likely to post them publicly and embarrass you half to death.
    I'm training for the MS Society's Bike to the Bay - and blogging about it!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Behind a Desk
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    98,846

    Default Re: Cited for Turning Left when Right Turn Only Sign Posted - Obstructed Sign

    Please recall, your specific question was "Is this something I can contest in court with confidence?"

    Missy is telling you what she would do if she were the judge and were presented with your defense. She's not stating that you can't make the argument or that there's no hearing officer in the world who won't accept it - none of us can do that. Do I think the sign is so obstructed or obscured that a reasonable motorist won't figure out what it says? I personally do not.

    So neither Missy nor I can assure you that you can contest the ticket with confidence. That's not to say you can't reach your own conclusion, that opinions can't vary, or that you may get lucky in court. It's simply an opinion that the odds don't appear to be on your side.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Cited for Turning Left when Right Turn Only Sign Posted - Obstructed Sign

    Besides the sign, what were the pavement markings?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    LA LA Land
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    Default Re: Cited for Turning Left when Right Turn Only Sign Posted - Obstructed Sign

    Quote Quoting jVerg
    View Post
    I didn't pay any attention to the sign nor notice it because of what you see in the photos:...
    I don't know why that would be something that would catch my eye, and from the pictures, the sign is clearly traffic related and its intent could then be instantaneously recognized.

    Often times there are other traffic control devices or indicators that would make such prohibition more clear. (EDITED TO ADD: oops, didn't see CS's post)... None can be seen in your photos because of the angle looking upwards! Of course this makes the photos more difficult to authenticate (no street name signs or any other clear identifying features) for evidentiary purposes, and even *IF* it did hold such value, I still don't think it will get you much more that a fine reduction!

  9. #9

    Default Re: Cited for Turning Left when Right Turn Only Sign Posted - Obstructed Sign

    Found it. Note the "No Parking for Mt. Sac Students" sign and the plant.

    http://goo.gl/maps/ncSt

    The first thing I noticed was how far back the limit line is for the stop sign. You did stop at the limit line, correct?

    I do think they could have added a "no left turn" sign on the post on the island that contains the stay right graphic for SE bound, no U turn for NE bound, and "one way" for traffic coming out of the residential area opposite of the strip mall.

  10. #10
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    Mar 2009
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    LA LA Land
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    Default Re: Cited for Turning Left when Right Turn Only Sign Posted - Obstructed Sign

    Quote Quoting California student
    View Post
    Found it. Note the "No Parking for Mt. Sac Students" sign .
    Yeah, I saw that and actually looked at the same lot exit but couldn't tell for sure if that was "THE" sign in question... (even from inside the lot, the sign was impossible to see with the glare)...

    Quote Quoting California student
    View Post
    I do think they could have added a "no left turn" sign on the post on the island that contains the stay right graphic for SE bound, no U turn for NE bound, and "one way" for traffic coming out of the residential area opposite of the strip mall.
    Actually, for (1), it is more than just a "No Left Turn"... Think about it, a "Right Turn Only" sign prohibits a straight through movement as well. So the only movement that is allowed is a right turn and a "Right Turn Only" on that pole which you described may have been an option. But, according to the 2012 CA-MUTCD:

    [QUOTE-=line 13k on page 154]Turn Prohibition signs should be placed where they will be most easily seen by drivers intending to turn.[/QUOTE]

    In this case, you're on a decent length approach and you'll likely to be looking forward as you approach the limit line. If you're going to see a sign across 3 lanes on the center island, the likelihood is that you WILL see the sign in its current location. Then you're expected to stop at the limit line (as you suggested), start rolling forward to clear traffic and as you do, you're most likely to look left first, then look right and then maybe left again as you enter the roadway, -you still haven't looked "forward" again since before the stop-. So that might seem like it is an ideal location, but... is it really?

    Of course the CVC only requires "ONE" sign and that requirement has been met!

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