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Is there a law where there has to be a solid white line in a "right lane must turn right" lane?

Discussion in 'Speeding Tickets, Traffic & Moving Violations' started by Jordan S, Oct 15, 2019.

  1. Jordan S

    Jordan S Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I recently moved into a new home in a new city. I was unfamiliar with some of the roads and I needed to get gas, so I was going northbound on a one way 2-lane road. As I was approaching an intersection with mild traffic, I got into the right lane with the intention of going straight through, since the gas station was eventually on the right side. I did this, and a police officer pulled me over because of signage indicating that the lane I was in was a "Right Lane must turn Right" lane.

    I explained to him I was new to the area and missed the signage, and because of the circumstances he just gave an infraction (with no points and not going to show on my record) for $150. This is the first time I've ever received a ticket.

    However, the intersection was rather confusing to me, because I believed that there was a dotted white line to separate the lanes, before and after the intersection. The reason why I went through is that I am used to 3 things in a right lane must turn right, a solid white line dividing the lane, an arrow on the pavement in paint indicating the turn, and multiple signage for the lane change. There were only signs. I went on google street view to see if there was a solid line, and there was. A couple of days later, I was driving the same direction and found out that they recently redid the road, and there was in fact dashed white lines.

    I went to the court with the intention of challenging the citation, and the receptionist at the desk was confused as to why I was challenging it. She informed me that the citation the police gave me is typically what people want to achieve in minimizing their consequences. I thought there was a "no contest" option, where I could admit guilt but have the fine taken away or reduced if I won. Turns out there is no such option, and it appears as if I just set a court date for a for sure failure because I am guilty of the violation.

    Is there a law where there has to be a solid white line in a "right lane must turn right" lane? Do I have a case in challenging this citation? Am I wasting my time and should just pay the fine?
     
  2. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Probably not. A sign is sufficient. Besides, what difference would it make? You missed the sign and likely would have ended up in the same lane with or without a solid white line.

    No.

    Yes.

    Yes. Keeping it off your record with no points is a gift.
     
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  3. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    Required signage and other markings surely varies state to state. You can contact a traffic engineer to get answers to your local question about required markings. If the road was not marked as required you very well could get your citation dismissed.
     
  4. Highwayman

    Highwayman Well-Known Member

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    There's no requirement I've ever seen. If there were no pavement markings at all you could argue that there was only one lane. But it makes no difference whether it was a solid, broken, or dotted line. These type of pavement markings are used to separate lanes, not direct vehicle operators to make turns.

    If you disobeyed clearly posted signs you're guilty. You were already given a break and weren't happy about it - oh well.
     
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  5. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    Also keep in mind also where you are. I argued a case for a client who didn't want to appear in traffic court because he had to be at work. (My guess is that the administrative law judge didn't like it at all.) The traffic sign was located about 6 feet above ground on the sidewalk of a 3 lane street, which is clearly not visible when there is a bus between the sign and your vehicle (and line of sight.) The judge decided that the sign alone was sufficient and my client had to somehow prove that, at the time he was driving, there was a bus preventing the sign from being seen. Not sure how that was supposed to happen, as opposed to proving that the signage was clearly inadequate on its face. Regardless of the law, is it worth the time to appeal?

    I mention this because early in my career I recall a very honest prosecutor in Connecticut. Before the judge came in he was hearing defenses and negotiating pleas. He'd regularly say "I can drop the points but the state needs the money so you'll have to pay the fine."
     
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  6. Highwayman

    Highwayman Well-Known Member

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    It's very common for motorists not to appear if they have an attorney. I assume you're talking about TVB.


    That's why I learned early on to make good observations and take good notes so that I could testify "There were no buses, trucks, or other large vehicles near the motorist's vehicle which would have obstructed his view of the sign; there were no police officers, traffic agents, or other flag persons directing traffic at the location who would have directed the motorist to disobey the sign and there were no emergency vehicles in the area engaged in emergency operation which would have caused the motorist to disobey the sign in an attempt to yield to such a vehicle".

    After a number of lessons learned from losses I became pretty much unbeatable and all of the regular attorneys knew it!
     
  7. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    True. On the few occasions I have been in traffic court I sensed some dynamic of familiar regulars who make their living from battling in the bunkers that is traffic court.

    Good work. :) The officer was pretty nice and he wasn't objecting. My guess is he was directed to give out tickets on a problem corner which someone must have known was the result of sloppy and negligent work by the Department of Transportation.

    The sign not seen was a no left turn placed on the sidewalk on the RIGHT side of the street, which is a crowded major road in New York City and with constant traffic. It doesn't take a genius to appreciate that a sign placed 6-7 feet above the ground on the sidewalk on the right side of the road will probably not be noticed and certainly when a bus that is 8-10 feet high is in the inner bus lane and between cars who are driving in the left lanes. I had bus schedules to show several buses were scheduled to be in the vicinity. I had a photo from the angle that the driver would have had next to a bus where the sign was clearly not visible. The ALJ was making pitiful excuses why she couldn't be sure unless she had a photo or some proof at the time of the incident. I heard the groans from the people behind me every time she came up with some ridiculous excuse why she couldn't concede the obvious.

    I asked some other attorneys in the courthouse about her and they rolled their eyes. It was an experience. My batting average was still excellent even with some challenged umpires!
     
  8. Highwayman

    Highwayman Well-Known Member

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    You don't remember which ALJ it was do you?
     
  9. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    Can't recall offhand but will jog my brain later and browser history, lol. She was fairly new (handful of years at best) and she had a weak background.
     
  10. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Many of the ALJs or "referees" I know or have known fit that description.

    It could also apply to a couple of "judges", too.
     
  11. Highwayman

    Highwayman Well-Known Member

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    Which TVB and what year? I may be able to guess!
     
  12. Highwayman

    Highwayman Well-Known Member

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    Over the years I've met many really great ALJs in the Traffic Violations Bureau. And a few that were horrible.

    My worst experiences were with JHOs in the Criminal Court summons parts. Most are retired judges, like 90 years old, can't hear well, can't speak well enough to understand, and don't particularly care what the law says.

    I had a case at 346 Broadway in Manhattan and the PD wanted to plea the 511 (Aggravated Unlicensed Operation) down to a 509 (unlicensed operator) - which is explcitly prohibited by the VTL (I believe it's 511 sub 6). When asked if I agreed with the plea deal I objected citing the law prohibiting the plea and no one cared, certainly not the JHO.

    :mad:
     
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  13. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Oh yes, some people don't know when to walk away.

    When my "best by date" arrives, I'll know. :D
     
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  14. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    Queens South 168-35 Rockaway Blvd and was about 4 years ago doing a friend a favor. I told him it would be a difficult case given that New York City will likely not admit that its sign is inherently not likely visible when it can collect money from bogus parking tickets that aren't worth the cost of appealing.
     
  15. Highwayman

    Highwayman Well-Known Member

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    That's too recent - I haven't been there in probably ten years.
     

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