“California Roll” Stop Sign Violations can be Dismissed
Most people think of section 22450 of the California Vehicle Code as “failure to stop at a stop sign.” As the name “stop requirements” suggests, however, the law imposes requirements beyond the need to stop.
Location of Stop - Intersection
If the stop sign appears at an intersection, the driver must stop at the first of the following that the driver encounters:
- the “limit line” - the white line that is painted on the road in front of or next to the stop sign
- a crosswalk that has been painted on the road
- the intersecting street
Note, however, that if you stop at the limit line or crosswalk and then pull forward and stop again so that you have a better view of traffic that might be approaching on the intersecting street, you have obeyed the law. It is not a violation of the law to stop twice. Sometimes, however, the police see only the second stop and not the first. In those cases, the police might write an erroneous ticket for violating section 22450. By arguing that the driver stopped twice but the officer saw only the second stop, a traffic ticket expert will make a strong case for dismissal of the ticket.
Location of Stop - Railway Crossing
If the stop sign appears in front of a railway crossing, the driver must stop at the first of the following that the driver encounters:
- the limit line
- the first track or the entrance to the railroad grade crossing
The location of the “entrance” to the grade crossing is sometimes unclear. A traffic ticket expert can use that ambiguity to a driver’s advantage when arguing for dismissal of the ticket. If you touch the track without stopping, however, you have gone too far.
Other Locations for California Vehicle Code 22450
Section 22450 allows local governments to place stop signs almost anywhere.
A common example is a pedestrian crosswalk in the middle of a street that connects one shopping center to another. A local ordinance will probably provide that drivers need to stop at a stop sign governing that crosswalk before entering the crosswalk.
Regardless of the location, if the law requires a driver to stop before touching a limit line or crosswalk, the limit line or crosswalk must be visible. If it has not been repainted in some time, the lines might be too faint to give a driver notice of their existence. A traffic ticket expert will often be able to get a ticket dismissed for that reason.
Duration of Stop
The law requires a driver to stop. It does not require the driver to stop for any length of time. A stop occurs when the vehicle is no longer moving forward. Sometimes police officers mistake a very brief stop for the failure to stop. When that happens, a traffic ticket expert will argue for dismissal of the ticket on the ground that a stop actually occurred, even if the stop was momentary.