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Failure to Yield to Emergency Vehicle

On Lawyer & Legal » Traffic Law

22,835 words with 9 Comments; publish: Thu, 24 Sep 2009 17:20:00 GMT; (80076.17, « »)

Two tickets from California, Santa Clara County:

21455.5: carpool

21806(A)(1): failure to yield

I was pulled over for wrongful use of the carpool lane on a highway, but received a second ticket for not yielding to an emergency vehicle. It was a mistake driving in the carpool lane and I will pay the fine no questions asked, but I am very much questioning the second ticket.

I was pulled over on the highway just before an exit. With no shoulder on the highway, I continued onto the offramp. With no shoulder on the offramp, I continued onto the main street. The rightmost lane of the main street was a right turn lane. I made a right, and another right into a parking lot and finally stopped. From where the sirens went on to where I finally stopped was about half a mile and 1 minute away.

I can understand the frustrating distance and time involved but there was not a place to stop safely. I can provide pictures to prove this point. I was wondering if:

1) it is worthwhile to contest the second citation,

2) how I would go about contesting the second citation, and

3) what my chances are to successfully contest the 21806 given photo evidence/have the fine lessened.

Finally, the courtesy notice I received from the courthouse lists three options:

1) pay your ticket (bail forfeiture) - $901

2) request court appearance - $901

3) traffic school - $560

Would the traffic school 'option' cost be in addition to paying the ticket (so the total ticket is $1460)? If yes, is the ticket for 21806 really $530 (assuming HOV violation is $371)?

What is the difference between arraignment and court trial? Is it possible to have your fine lessened with either?

I appreciate any help you can offer.

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  • 9 Comments
    • Quoting
      What is the difference between arraignment and court trial? Is it possible to have your fine lessened with either?
      Your first appearance in court is called you “arraignment”. That is when the judge will read you the charges against you and will give you the opportunity to enter a plea (of “guilty” or “not guilty”) to either charges or to both. If you choose to plead “not guilty”, then the court will set a “trial date” where you and the officer will appear before the judge.
      #1; Thu, 24 Sep 2009 19:03:00 GMT
    • Thanks for your knowledgeable reply.

      You are correct and the violation is for 21655.5.

      Let's say I decide to do traffic school. Would I select the traffic school option and pay only $560? Does $560 include paying the ticket?

      FROM 1ST POST: "Finally, the courtesy notice I received from the courthouse lists three options:

      1) pay your ticket (bail forfeiture) - $901

      2) request court appearance - $901

      3) traffic school - $560"

      #2; Thu, 24 Sep 2009 20:32:00 GMT
    • Quoting
      Thanks for your knowledgeable reply.
      You're welcome... Wish I could have offered a better opinion
      #3; Thu, 24 Sep 2009 21:15:00 GMT
    • Quoting
      Finally, let's say I decide to contest the citation (in the hope the officer won't show). If found guilty, would traffic school still be an option?
      Easy question, tough answer. The answer is maybe yes, maybe no. It depends on the judge. Some judges will allow you the traffic school option if you lose at trial, others will not.
      #4; Fri, 25 Sep 2009 04:29:00 GMT
    • That Guy has good information, but I disagree with his assessment of your guilt for the FTY charge. As he pointed out, 21806 says:

      Quote:
      (a) (1) Except as required under paragraph (2), the driver of every other vehicle [B]shall yield the right-of-way and shall immediately drive to the right-hand edge or curb of the highway, clear of any intersection, and thereupon shall stop and remain stopped until the authorized emergency vehicle has passed.[B]
      What he left out was the first paragraph:

      Quote:
      21806. Upon the immediate approach of an authorized emergency

      vehicle which is sounding a siren and which has at least one lighted

      lamp exhibiting red light that is visible, under normal atmospheric

      conditions, from a distance of 1,000 feet to the front of the

      vehicle, the surrounding traffic shall, except as otherwise directed

      by a traffic officer, do the following:

      The obvious intent of this is for vehicles to YIELD (i.e. get the hell out of the way) when an emergency vehicle is approaching so that emergency vehicle can pass. That was not the case here. While the OP technically did not stop, it was apparent that the emergency vehicle (the cop) had no intention of passing!! If the cop had a bug up his butt and he had to write the OP for something, he would have been more correct to make a charge of fleeing. This charge is absolutely inappropriate and the OP should argue it in court.

      Another question for the OP... you talk about the cop having his sirens on... did you mean his emergency lights?? The siren is the device that makes the really loud noise. If the cop didn't have the siren on, then this code again is inapplicable.

      #5; Fri, 25 Sep 2009 08:35:00 GMT
    • Thanks That Guy and EWYLTJ. All your feedback is much appreciated!

      EWYLTJ: The officer did not have his siren on and used his horn. His lights were on.

      Is it possible to contest one citation (21806) separate from the others on a multi-citation ticket? I am clearly guilty of the carpool lane violation. In other words, does 'not guilty' on the 21806 also apply to the carpool lane violation?

      How much room do judges have to use their discretion, i.e. ignore whether the siren was on or not since it was clear I was being pulled over? The cop was not passing but that doesn't change the fact I did not stop immediately.

      Do you agree with That Guy's assessment of the traffic school/bail forfeiture costs (traffic school's $560 does not include the $435 for HOV use)?

      BTW, what is OP?

      Everyone: So, bottom line, what's the best way forward? (And how do you know so much?)

      #6; Fri, 25 Sep 2009 12:04:00 GMT
    • OP is "original poster".

      I'm not sure what the bail structure means that you described. However, I'd go to court and plead not guilty on both charges. You will likely lose the HOV cite, but the FTY should be an easy win. Sometimes when a cop charges a stupid charge, like the FTY, he may be embarrassed to show up to trial.

      #7; Fri, 25 Sep 2009 13:14:00 GMT
    • Quoting
      In other words, does 'not guilty' on the 21806 also apply to the carpool lane violation?
      No, you can enter a different plea for each violation, however, the citation will be adjudicated as a single case, in spite of the fact that it contains 2 different charges. Meaning, your guilty plea for the carpool violation will not be entered into the record until a final verdict is reached for the FTY.
      #8; Sat, 26 Sep 2009 03:10:00 GMT
    • You are extremely knowledgeable. The information you've shared has been extremely valuable to me. Thank you!

      When you mentioned appearing in court,

      -Would that be for the 'arraignment'? Does the officer need to be present for the arraignment?

      -Is it possible to choose between arraignment and contesting the citation (on the day of the trial)?

      -Is the court date on the citation chosen by the officer? Would I be able to search the courthouse for the officer and choose to contest if he is not present?

      Finally, let's say I decide to contest the citation (in the hope the officer won't show). If found guilty, would traffic school still be an option?

      I appreciate all your help.

      #9; Fri, 25 Sep 2009 01:47:00 GMT