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  1. #1
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    Default Dismissal of VC 21453(C) Citation

    My question involves traffic court in the State of California: concerns a recent VC21453(c) Citation. I entered an intersection with the MAIN traffic signal still GREEN. Since the VC states an exception to a "red ARROW" being: "...unless entering the intersection to make a movement permitted by another signal..."

    Is that grounds for a DISMISSAL?

    BACKGROUND: After making my left turn, an officer pulled me over and said, “Did you know you went through a ‘red’ light up there?” When I replied that the light was “Green” when I turned, he said, “No, that light was ‘green.’ I’m talking about the ‘red’ arrow you drove through.”

    The Officer repeatedly admitted:
    1) “The Main traffic light was still “Green” when you turned left.”
    2) “There was no other traffic at the intersection.”
    3) “I saw that you had noticed the bicyclist on the corner. And, I saw you slowed and maneuvered to avoid getting near him.”
    4) “The only issue is that you missed seeing the ‘red’ arrow.”

    Suggestions?

    THANKS for your ASSISTANCE. My "Due Date" is Tuesday, October 20, 2009.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Dismissal of Vc21453(C)citation

    Quote Quoting Juran14
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    My question involves traffic court in the State of California: concerns a recent VC21453(c) Citation. I entered an intersection with the MAIN traffic signal still GREEN. Since the VC states an exception to a "red ARROW" being: "...unless entering the intersection to make a movement permitted by another signal..."

    Is that grounds for a DISMISSAL?
    You're not SERIOUS.... Are you?

    The movement permitted by the other signal is for those who are driving straight through the intersection, NOT for those making a LEFT turn if the LEFT TURN ARROW was RED.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Dismissal of Vc21453(C)citation

    Hmmm. I think I can see the argument -- not that you're wrong Sir That Guy, but let's examine the laws in detail. CVC 21453 states:

    Quote Quoting CVC 21453
    (c) A driver facing a steady red arrow signal shall not enter the intersection to make the movement indicated by the arrow ... unless entering the intersection to make a movement permitted by another signal ....

    OK, the way I read that -- you cannot enter the intersection on a red arrow unless you are making a movement permitted by another signal -- in this case a circular GREEN.

    Now, to see what movements are permitted by a circular green, we have to look at CVC 21451 (a):

    Quote Quoting CVC 21451
    (a) A driver facing a circular green signal shall proceed straight through or turn right or left or make a U-turn unless a sign prohibits a U-turn. Any driver, including one turning, shall yield the right-of-way to other traffic and to pedestrians lawfully within the intersection or an adjacent crosswalk.

    CVC 21451 does NOT say "unless a red arrow prohibits the movement". So, as far as I can see, as long as you yielded to other traffic and pedestrians, the left turn should have been permissible. Haha, you gotta love it!

    OP, I think you'll lose, but it is an interesting argument. I'd love to see the look on the judge's face when you explain it.

    Good luck, and, please, let us know how it works out.
    Barry

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Dismissal of Vc21453(C)citation

    That Guy takes the obvious argument... blewis disects the VC a bit. Interesting. My knee-jerk reaction was the same as That Guy's... but after reading blewis' post, it makes me wonder... when would:
    unless entering the intersection to make a movement permitted by another signal
    ever be applicable??? I don't know! So, is it reasonable that blewis' disection could be the correct interpretation? After all, I'm assuming the cop cited you because you ENTERED the intersection on the red arrow, but you did not TURN on the red arrow.... is that correct, OP???

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Dismissal of Vc21453(C)citation

    Barry, I think we've discussed the before. When a traffic signal is split (one for straight through traffic and one for left turn traffic) the green signal is permitting the straight through movement exclusivey. And the Red arrow signal is for the left turn movement exclusively.

    That, would suggest that the green signal in this case is permitting the straight through movement while the Red arrow is restricting the left turn. (meaning there was no signal permitting the left turn movement). Had the OP decided to commit a lane violation in continuing straight through the intersection (like we discussed in the other thread), then your argument might work in getting the red light violation dismissed. However, the OP made a left turn which was still restricted by a red turn arrow.

    I highly doubt that the judge will spend the time to explain this to the OP. I think he/she would be more apt to just saying "guilty" and moving on to the next case. He/she might chuckle though...

    And Juran14, regarding your PM, get over yourself. You posted on a public forum. Just because my post did not fit in within what you wanted to hear, doesn't make it wrong!

    Good luck.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Dismissal of Vc21453(C)citation

    Quote Quoting EWYLTJ
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    After all, I'm assuming the cop cited you because you ENTERED the intersection on the red arrow, but you did not TURN on the red arrow.... is that correct, OP???
    There is nothing in the OP's post that indicated that the turn was made when the arrow was green. So from that sense, your question is in fact pertinent. However, your reasoning isn't.

    Whether the turn "from the left lane" was made while the arrow was green or red, is not where the violation occurred. The violation did in fact occur, as was indicated by the OP, when the OP entered the inersection (crossed the limit line) from the left turn lane while the signal was showing a "red arrow indication".

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Dismissal of Vc21453(C)citation

    In the interest of finding solutions (vs. simply wanting to be "right" and without name calling), I followed Barry's lead on the matter. Pasted below is the text for his line of discussion. It is noteworthy that within CVC 21451 (b), it has what appears to be an "Exception" to the green arrow signal regulation:

    "CVC 21451 (b) states: “A driver facing a green arrow signal, shown alone or in combination with another indication, shall enter the intersection only to make the movement indicated by that green arrow or any other movement that is permitted by other indications shown at the same time. ..."

    Hopefully, the Court will see fit to interpret that statement to say the "other indications shown at the time," i.e., the circular green signal, no other vehicles present and my caution in avoiding the bicyclist, meant I was permitted to enter the intersection and make the left turn safety ~ not endangering anyone.

    Thank you for your feedback, insights and the "Good Luck" comment.

    As mentioned in my 1st Thread, all assistance and suggestions for getting a Dismissal are gratefully accepted.

    Wishing you, and everyone responding to my question, all the best, now and always.....

    Sincerely,

    Juran14

    PS My appologies for responding to your 1st Post with frustration and such a self-righteous attitude. The bail for the citation is $445, which I simply do not have. Spoke to the Court this morning and, thankfully, they issued me an Extension and gave me suggestions of applying to the Commissioner to WAIVE the bail amount due to "Financial Hardship." So, keep sending "Good Thoughts," OK?
    RESEARCH: Source: http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d11/vc21451.htm

    Quoting CVC 21451

    (a) A driver facing a circular green signal shall proceed straight through or turn right or left or make a U-turn unless a sign prohibits a U-turn. Any driver, including one turning, shall yield the right-of-way to other traffic and to pedestrians lawfully within the intersection or an adjacent crosswalk.
    (b) A driver facing a green arrow signal, shown alone or in combination with another indication, shall enter the intersection only to make the movement indicated by that green arrow or any other movement that is permitted by other indications shown at the same time. A driver facing a left green arrow may also make a U-turn unless prohibited by a sign. A driver shall yield the right-of-way to other traffic and to pedestrians lawfully within the intersection or an adjacent crosswalk.


    CVC 21451 (a) does NOT say "unless a red arrow prohibits the movement." On the contrary, it explicitly provides for “…any other movement that is permitted by other indications shown at the same time.” Therefore, since the Officer readily agreed that I had yielded to other traffic and pedestrians, the left turn should have been permissible.

    CVC 21451 (b) states: “A driver facing a green arrow signal, shown alone or in combination with another indication, shall enter the intersection only to make the movement indicated by that green arrow or any other movement that is permitted by other indications shown at the same time. A driver facing a left green arrow may also make a U-turn unless prohibited by a sign. A driver shall yield the right-of-way to other traffic and to pedestrians lawfully within the intersection or an adjacent crosswalk.”

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Dismissal of Vc21453(C)citation

    IMHO, as I told you before, I doubt that you will prevail on this argument, especially if YOU make it. The only way I can imagine your winning is to have the OFFICER make it for you. Basically, I think you should prepare a series of questions -- along with a photo of the intersection taken from YOUR point of view (with a RED left turn arrow and circular GREEN light showing), and printouts of the laws.

    After the officer testifies, you will have to lead him through the "elements" of CVC 21453(c), by having him read the law aloud (be sure to ask the judge if it's OK to hand the officer a copy of CVC 21453). As he reads, emphasize the "exception" to the law -- movement PERMITTED by another SIGNAL. Show the officer your photo. Ask if there are, indeed, OTHER signals at the intersection. Get him to admit that the GREEN circular light PERMITS movement. Then get him to read CVC 21451 (a). Ask him if ANYTHING in the law indicates that a RED arrow PROHIBITS a left turn on a GREEN circular signal.

    You can see what I'm saying -- you must get the officer to admit that it SHOULD have been OK to make the left. If he tries saying anything about the RED ARROW prohibiting it, ask him where in the law is there an EXCEPTION to a left turn on a GREEN circular signal. Quite the contrary, there IS an exception to the RED arrow, permitting movement pursuant to a GREEN circular indication. And, a GREEN circular indication PERMITS left turns.

    Now, if the GREEN light had been an ARROW (CVC 21451 (b)) indicating movement ONLY straight through the intersection, or if 21451 (a) stated "unless there is a red indication prohibiting such turns", it would be a different story. But, strictly interpreted, there has been NO law that was violated -- only "part" of a law ("A driver facing a steady red arrow signal shall not enter the intersection to make the movement indicated by the arrow ...."). But statutory construction usually requires that laws be read in their entirety and further that laws be read together and harmonized whenever possible to give full force and effect to each. And, when CVC 21453 (c) is read in its entirety, there is an "exception". And, when read together with CVC 21451 (a) that exception ALLOWS a left turn.

    Be prepared for the judge to consider the left arrow as sort of a variable "no left turn" sign. About the only thing you can do at that point is pay the fine.

    Good luck,
    Barry

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Dismissal of Vc21453(C)citation

    Quote Quoting blewis
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    IMHO, as I told you before, I doubt that you will prevail on this argument, especially if YOU make it. The only way I can imagine your winning is to have the OFFICER make it for you. Basically, I think you should prepare a series of questions -- along with a photo of the intersection taken from YOUR point of view (with a RED left turn arrow and circular GREEN light showing), and printouts of the laws.

    After the officer testifies, you will have to lead him through the "elements" of CVC 21453(c), by having him read the law aloud (be sure to ask the judge if it's OK to hand the officer a copy of CVC 21453). As he reads, emphasize the "exception" to the law -- movement PERMITTED by another SIGNAL. Show the officer your photo. Ask if there are, indeed, OTHER signals at the intersection. Get him to admit that the GREEN circular light PERMITS movement. Then get him to read CVC 21451 (a). Ask him if ANYTHING in the law indicates that a RED arrow PROHIBITS a left turn on a GREEN circular signal.

    You can see what I'm saying -- you must get the officer to admit that it SHOULD have been OK to make the left. If he tries saying anything about the RED ARROW prohibiting it, ask him where in the law is there an EXCEPTION to a left turn on a GREEN circular signal. Quite the contrary, there IS an exception to the RED arrow, permitting movement pursuant to a GREEN circular indication. And, a GREEN circular indication PERMITS left turns.

    Now, if the GREEN light had been an ARROW (CVC 21451 (b)) indicating movement ONLY straight through the intersection, or if 21451 (a) stated "unless there is a red indication prohibiting such turns", it would be a different story. But, strictly interpreted, there has been NO law that was violated -- only "part" of a law ("A driver facing a steady red arrow signal shall not enter the intersection to make the movement indicated by the arrow ...."). But statutory construction usually requires that laws be read in their entirety and further that laws be read together and harmonized whenever possible to give full force and effect to each. And, when CVC 21453 (c) is read in its entirety, there is an "exception". And, when read together with CVC 21451 (a) that exception ALLOWS a left turn.

    Be prepared for the judge to consider the left arrow as sort of a variable "no left turn" sign. About the only thing you can do at that point is pay the fine.

    Good luck,
    Barry
    Dearest Barry,

    You're a wealth of information and ideas!!

    Was wondering if we could discuss this and brainstorm various approaches sometime tomorrow?

    Before reading the comments in this Post, it was my intention to use the "Trial By Written Declaration." However your remarks seem to imply an actual Court Appearance ~ confronting the Officer ~ would offer a better opportunity to get a Dismissal.

    Also, there are some personal "details" to the situation which I have not Posted (for obvious reasons). They may, however, be important to incorporate in my Defense.

    Not really sure of the logistics to having a real conversation. If you feel comfortable sending me your Email address in a Personal Message, I could enter it on my "Do not Block" list.

    OK..... For now, I'm exhausted. Been at this all day & supposed to be with friends this evening (need to get ready).

    Hugs and many, MANY Thanks for all your assistance.

    Quote: "Every act of kindness is a little bit of love we leave behind." ~ Paul Williams

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Dismissal of Vc21453(C)citation

    I just thought of something, and this gets back to something Jim (EWYLTJ) said:

    Quote Quoting EWYLTJ
    View Post
    when would:
    unless entering the intersection to make a movement permitted by another signal
    ever be applicable???

    This goes along with the rules for statutory construction. If you don't interpret the laws as I have proposed, how would that phrase EVER be applicable? Under what conditions, then, could you enter the intersection? Just to go straight? But, CVC 21451 (a) doesn't say that. NOWHERE does it say that a circular GREEN light permits travel ONLY straight through the intersection. And nothing says that it's conditional upon other lights. Proper construction provides that you MUST try to give full force and effect to EVERY part of the law.

    As I've said, I'd love to see the judge's face.

    Barry

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