California Vehicle Code 21804—Entering Onto a Highway
When entering a highway, you need to use caution and yield to vehicles on the highway so as to avoid a collision. You may place those motorists in jeopardy if they have to take evasive action. In many cases where motorists are ticketed for violating this section, there are defenses available. It is in your best interests, however, to retain a traffic ticket expert from Ticket Snipers to help handle your case.
CVC Section 21804 states:
“(a) The driver of any vehicle about to enter or cross a highway from any public or private property, or from an alley, shall yield the right-of-way to all traffic, as defined in Section 620, approaching on the highway close enough to constitute an immediate hazard, and shall continue to yield the right-of-way to that traffic until he or she can proceed with reasonable safety.
(b) A driver having yielded as prescribed in subdivision (a) may proceed to enter or cross the highway, and the drivers of all other vehicles approaching on the highway shall yield the right-of-way to the vehicle entering or crossing the intersection.”
This code section is one of several right-of-way laws. These are generally based on common sense so that when you are on the roadway, you are expected to respect the right of others and yield the right-of-way.
Under CVC 21804, you are required to stop when entering the highway from a public or private location or alleyway if there is traffic approaching that is close enough to present a risk of collision.
The code section also extends to vehicles already on the highway, Once you have entered the highway safely, they must yield to you.
Defenses to CVC 21804
If cited for violating CVC 21804, your defense will have to be a different version of what the police officer observed or was told by a third party. For instance, if you were cited by an officer claiming you failed to yield when entering the highway, the officer would have to prove your vehicle entered the roadway illegally. This can give your case an opening to defend the alleged violation.
If the officer had a clear line of sight and personally observed you entering the highway while doing so in an unsafe manner, you may have a more difficult task convincing a judge otherwise.
Your version was Accurate
Your defense if in direct contradiction of the officer’s observation could be:
- You stopped and looked to see if there was approaching traffic. If so, was it close enough to constitute a hazard?
- You yielded to traffic before entering the roadway
- You entered or crossed the highway safely
If another vehicle entering from another location suddenly appeared, you could assert that you met all the safety requirements of the code but the hazard of the other vehicle was unforeseeable or that that motorist failed to yield to you.
In any event, hire a Ticket Sniper expert to help defend you.
Hearsay by Officer
If the officer’s justification for citing you was based on another party’s statement, the officer’s testimony as to what that party said is hearsay. Hearsay is an out-of-court statement introduced to prove the truth of the matter asserted. In other words, the person who made the statement about your failing to yield must appear in court to testify. If not, the officer’s testimony in court about what that person told him or her is hearsay and an objection needs to be made to exclude it.
Exceptions to the Hearsay Rule
There are exceptions to the hearsay rule and the prosecution can assert that the witness was unavailable despite all efforts such as by subpoena to procure the person’s appearance. Another is that the officer appeared on the scene within minutes of the event and the witness blurted the statement out. This might qualify as an excited utterance exception to the hearsay rule so long as the person who stated it was still under the stress or excitement of the event. Courts have ruled that an excited utterance could be made as long as 3 hours after the event.
Another exception is the officer testifying to what another witness observed as a present sense impression. The requirement is that the statement be made “immediately after the declarant perceived it,” although making it minutes after the event may not render it inadmissible. For instance, if a third motorist told the officer within 30 minutes of the incident that she saw you enter the highway while the other vehicle was very near to your car, then it might be admissible. It is within the court’s discretion to decide if too much time elapsed.
There may be other defenses that your Ticket Snipers expert can help you with.
Why Hire Ticket Snipers?
As you can see, defending a violation of CVC 21804 is not easy. You can try to represent yourself but not knowing what the officer will testify to or how to meet the prosecution’s argument that the officer’s testimony, although hearsay, should be admissible can be fatal to your case.
Your best opportunity to have a favorable outcome in your case is to hire an expert from Ticket Snipers. With our service you will receivet:
- A traffic ticket expert who only handles traffic violations
- A veteran team member who can spot errors on a ticket or inconsistencies in testimony
- No need to even appear in court
- Payment of a fee that is less than the cost of your ticket
A violation of CVC 21804 will cost you $238 and a point on your record. If you go to traffic school, you will pay nearly $300 for the fine and class, if you are eligible. Instead, fight your ticket with a traffic ticket expert from Ticket Snipers.