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  1. #1
    brendan is offline Junior Member
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    Contesting a illegal U-turn

    What is the name of your state? Massachusetts

    I was cited for an illegal U-turn and the ticketing officer suggested that I contest it so it doesn't affect my insurance rates. I appreciate his advice but I'm totally surprised at his suggestion. He said "paying the ticket is an admission of guilt".

    Since it was an illegal U-turn, do I have any basis for contesting the ticket? I didn't see the no U turn signs at the point in the road where I was deciding to U-turn when I was parked but from where he pulled me over, they were very clear - I drove right by them when I pulled up to the store (but didn't see them since I wasn't thinking of making a U- turn).

    I'd rather not have a second moving violation on my record (If I had known to contest tickets, I certainly would have contested the initial one because I really didn't think I was speeding!).

    I'm confused and would appreciate advice.

    BrendanWhat is the name of your state?
  2. #2
    CdwJava is offline Senior Member
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    Without a description of the intersection it's impossible to say.

    Was this an intersection? How many lanes in each direction? From which lane did you make the U-Turn?

    Those are enough to get started.

    - Carl
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

    "Make mine a double mocha ...
    And a croissant!"

    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkM-gDcmJeM
  3. #3
    brendan is offline Junior Member
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    Contesting a illegal U-turn

    My apologies.

    Here's a description:

    I was not at an intersection. I was parked at the side of the street in a business district. I had started pulling out when I realized the area I needed to go was behind me. Seeing that the street was clear in both directions, I U-turned. (Do I infer that this is always illegal? How do I figure out when a U-turn is illegal. For other cases, not this one where there were posted signs)

    It was a two-way street with three-ish lanes, I think (one northbound lane, one southbound land and the formation of one northbound left turn lane).

    I'm not sure that my not being able to see the "No U-turn" signs, which were all behind the location where I was parked, is at all a defense.

    I ask about contesting this only because the officer suggested I contest the ticket. It's the only grounds that I can think of to contest the ticket, unless the "No U-turn" signs are marked but not legal signs (ie. not valid for enforcement).

    Also, he cited me under MA 89/11 and wrote illegal U-turn. I looked up MA Chapter 89 sub 11 and it's all about yielding to pedestrians... There were no pedestrians at the time. - does this have any bearing?

    brendan

    FYI. Here's Mass General Law Chapter 89 section 11

    Chapter 89: Section 11. Marked crosswalks; yielding right of way to pedestrians; penalty

    Section 11. When traffic control signals are not in place or not in operation the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right of way, slowing down or stopping if need be so to yield, to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk marked in accordance with standards established by the department of highways if the pedestrian is on that half of the traveled part of the way on which the vehicle is traveling or if the pedestrian approaches from the opposite half of the traveled part of the way to within 10 feet of that half of the traveled part of the way on which said vehicle is traveling.

    No driver of a vehicle shall pass any other vehicle which has stopped at a marked crosswalk to permit a pedestrian to cross, nor shall any such operator enter a marked crosswalk while a pedestrian is crossing or until there is a sufficient space beyond the crosswalk to accommodate the vehicle he is operating, notwithstanding that a traffic control signal may indicate that vehicles may proceed.

    Whoever violates any provision of this section shall be punished by a fine of not more than $200.

    Whenever a pedestrian is injured by a motor vehicle in a marked crosswalk, the department of state police or the municipal police department with jurisdiction of the street, in consultation with department of state police if deemed appropriate, shall conduct an investigation into the cause of the injury and any violation of this section or other law or ordinance and shall issue the appropriate civil or criminal citation or file an application for the appropriate criminal complaint, if any. This section shall not limit the ability of a district attorney or the attorney general to seek an indictment in connection with the operation of a motor vehicle which causes injury or death and which violates this section.
  4. #4
    brendan is offline Junior Member
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    Carl,

    I just realized (duh!) I don't know what the road markings were in that area (double yellow vs broken yellow lines). I will have to re-visit the site to let you know.

    brendan
  5. #5
    CdwJava is offline Senior Member
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    In general, it is never permissable to make a U-Turn in the middle of a street. There are some few exceptions to this, but I suspect that was what you did to get the citation. Double yellow or not, most U-Turns in the middle of a street (no at an intersection) are unlawful.

    - Carl
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

    "Make mine a double mocha ...
    And a croissant!"

    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkM-gDcmJeM
  6. #6
    CdwJava is offline Senior Member
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    On a side note, chapter 89 is pretty rules-light on driving regs. There must be another section somewhere for rules of the road.

    And the 89-11 section would seem to be wrong, UNLESS you failed to see something the offcier saw. Or, the officer cited the wrong section entirely.

    - Carl
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

    "Make mine a double mocha ...
    And a croissant!"

    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkM-gDcmJeM
  7. #7
    brendan is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by CdwJava
    On a side note, chapter 89 is pretty rules-light on driving regs. There must be another section somewhere for rules of the road.

    And the 89-11 section would seem to be wrong, UNLESS you failed to see something the offcier saw. Or, the officer cited the wrong section entirely.
    Carl,

    I had no idea that a middle of the road U-turn (as opposed to a 3 point turn) was illegal.

    Is it odd then that the officer suggested I contest the citation if there was so little room for error? He suggested it (in reference to the citation affecting my insurance rates) and I have no idea how contesting the ticket is possible. Should I protest the citation because he cited the wrong section? 89-11 is about endangering pedestrians which I most surely did not. Or is it clear enough since he had written "illegal U-turn" on the ticket that no one would misconstrue this event on my driving record?

    Thanks,

    brendan
    Last edited by brendan; 06-12-2006 at 08:08 PM.
  8. #8
    CdwJava is offline Senior Member
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    Before you decide to contest it, you may want to see if you can obtain the officer's notes via Discovery (no, I don't know how that is done in your state). If he is going to testify as to a violation of 89-11 and opposed to an unlawful U-Turn, then you have to mount a different defense. If he is going to claim an unlawful U-Turn, you may stand a good chance by waiting til after he has presented a case and then countering that you had been cited under the wrong section.

    However, there must be something missing here as the MA law seems to be really light on traffic regs. I would proceed with caution. You might also consider seeing if there is some form of low-cost traffic legal defense outfit in your area - there are a few of those out here.

    - Carl
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

    "Make mine a double mocha ...
    And a croissant!"

    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkM-gDcmJeM
  9. #9
    brendan is offline Junior Member
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    Carl,

    Many thanks for your input!

    I did a bit more research and according to The Massachusetts Driver's Manual:

    Unless a NO U-TURN sign is posted, you are allowed to make a U-turn as long as your path is clear and it is safe to do so. You may only make a U-turn from the lane closest to the centre line. Make sure you have enough room to complete the turn and don't create a hazard for oncoming vehicles. Do not attempt a U-turn at the crest of a hill, near a curve or at any other point where you or other drivers are unable to see from 500 feet away.

    The roadway was clear in both directions. I did not see a "NO U-turn" sign. I thought I was making a legal U-turn. Is this a defensible line of reasoning for an unlawful U-turn citation?

    for a 89/11 defense, I'm not sure what I can say other than "There were no pedestrians at that time hence I did not violate 89/11". (Barring other observations noted in the officer's log that I may have to counter.)

    brendan

    PS. I don't think I'll be making any U-turns, legal or not, in the future!
  10. #10
    sukharev is offline Member
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    Go fight it. 89-11 is for pedestrian protection when they cross in the crosswalk. If there was no crosswalk, you don't even have to prove there were no pedestrians (which is impossible, and magistrate is not a trial so forget the testimony and rules of evidence), just take a picture and bring it to court with you.

    If you still loose magistrate hearing, go ahead and pay $25 to go to real trial. You may be able to win that one (especially if officer does not show). Good luck.

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