My question involves a traffic ticket from the state of: California
I was recently cited for a violation of VC 21655.5(b), driving solo in the carpool lane. This was in the I-15 Express Lanes in San Diego, which are also FasTrak lanes. The car I was driving at the time is registered with FasTrak by its license plate (as all vehicles that use FasTrak have to be), but I did not have the transponder in the car.
The CHP officer cited me for VC 21655.5(b), as opposed 23302(b). I would think 23302(b) would be the correct VC. I didn't know I had to have the transponder in the car; I thought the plate registration was good enough, but the CHP officer told me there are no cameras in the I-15 Express Lanes. Ignorance is no excuse, I know, and I am more than willing to pay the $238 fine for VC 23302(b), since not having the transponder was my screw-up. I am NOT, however, willing to pay $491 for VC21655.5(b), and I want to fight it.
VC 23302(b) states: "For vehicular crossings and toll highways that use electronic toll collection as the only method of paying tolls or other charges, it is prima facie evidence of a violation of this section for a driver to drive a vehicle onto the vehicular crossing or toll highway without a transponder or other electronic toll payment device associated with a valid Automatic Vehicle Identification account with a balance sufficient to pay those tolls."
It refers specifically to "vehicular crossings and toll highways," as opposed to Express Lanes. VC 23254 states: "A 'vehicular crossing' is any toll bridge or toll highway crossing and the approaches thereto, constructed or acquired by the Department of Transportation under the provisions of the California Toll Bridge Authority Act."
The Express Lanes are obviously not a "vehicular crossing" according to that definition. So, my question is: Can it be argued that Express Lanes that display the FasTrak logo and collect tolls can be considered a "toll highway?" (As opposed to a purely toll road, such as the South Bay Expressway (the toll portion of CA-125) or CA-73.)
Thanks in advance.