Regulation of Turns at Intersections - CVC 22101
California Vehicle Code 22101 Section 22101(d) makes it illegal to disobey the direction of an official traffic control device under two specific circumstances. Those circumstances are:
- The failure to make a required turn. This offense usually arises when the driver is in a “right (or left) turn only” lane and fails to turn.
- Disobedience of a sign that prohibits a turn. Disobeying a “no right turn on red” sign is the most common example of that violation.
If an officer writes a traffic ticket for disobeying section 22101(d) but is basing the charge on anything other than making a forbidden turn or failing to make a required turn, a traffic ticket expert will have a golden opportunity to get the ticket dismissed. Other defenses/options are also available.
Traffic control device
Section 22101(d) of the California Vehicle Code applies when the state or local government has installed an “official traffic control device” within or adjacent to an intersection. An official traffic control device is any sign, signal, marking, or device that was placed or erected for the purpose of regulating, warning, or guiding traffic. A traffic light is an example of a traffic control device. So is a “no right turn on red” sign. If the traffic control device exists, the law presumes that it was placed there by an appropriate government agency. In other words, the prosecutor does not need to prove that fact. The burden is on the ticketed driver to prove that the government was not authorized to erect or place the device in that location. In unusual cases, a traffic ticket advocate can raise that defense successfully. It is also a defense if the sign or other device was not “in or adjacent to” the intersection. If you are ticketed for disobeying a sign that was posted half a block from the intersection, your traffic ticket expert can make a strong argument that the sign was not “adjacent to” the intersection.
It is illegal to disobey a sign that requires a driver to make a turn. Disobeying a “right turn only” is a common example of the circumstance that requires a driver to make a turn. A sign is not necessary if lane markings indicate that a lane is a “right turn only” or “left turn only” lane. However, lane markings are often difficult to see, particularly when they have not been repainted in a number of years. The law requires drivers to be given notice of the required turn. If the lane markings were too difficult to see, a traffic ticket advocate will have a strong argument for dismissal of the ticket. If the officer claims that the driver was in a turn lane but proceeded straight through the intersection, the driver’s traffic ticket expert will be able to raise a strong defense if the driver moved out of the turn lane before entering the intersection. It is not illegal to change lanes and the officer who wrote the ticket may not have been in position to notice that the lane change occurred.