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  1. #1
    defluxer is offline Junior Member
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    White Plains, NY - "Disobey Sign" ticket

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? New York

    Background:
    1. I live on a house directly along the Bronx River Parkway (BRP) in White Plains, NY. To leave the house, I have go north along the parkway and get off either Exit 21 (Downtown White Plains) or Exit 22 (Westchester County Center). Having a residential area on the BRP is definitely an exception to the rule, since NY parkways are supposed to be limited-access freeways.

    2. Every Sunday during late spring and summer, Westchester County has Bike Sundays when they close the parkway to vehicular traffic, and open it only to bikes. This is from 10 am to 2 pm. During this time, there are traffic cones on the middle of the two northbound lanes starting from the nearest parkway entrance (south of my house) to the last house on the parkway.

    3. Up until now, I have no idea whether I can leave my house during that 10 am to 2 pm window, by going south on the "coned-in" lane to the parkway entrance. I haven't done that yet, and on days when I have to get out of the house, I either leave before 10 am, or wait until after 2 pm.

    4. Today I decided to leave the house minutes after 2 pm. There were no more bikes on the parkway. There were cars already on the southbound lanes BUT, the traffic cones are still there on the northbound side.

    5. My first mistake: I drove past the traffic cones. My second mistake: I didn't take Exit 21, but instead drove on and planned to exit at Exit 22 (Westchester County Center).

    6. The northbound Exit 22 was blocked by a couple of police cars. The officer hailed me to stop. I explained that I lived on a house along the parkway and that I thought that the Bike Sundays event were already over since it was past 2 PM and that I saw cars on the southbound lane already.

    7. The officer said since the cones were still there that I should not have driven past them. He gave me a ticket. The violation box checked was "Laws of Westchester". The type of violation was listed under "Other" as "712.261 Disobey Signs". This is my first ticket.

    8. There was apparently a graduation ceremony at the County Center, and there was a heavy traffic going into the parking lot. Said traffic has to cross the parkway at Exit 22 to enter the parking lot, and I guess to facilitate the traffic, they had to keep the northbound exit closed (where the officers are situated).

    I looked up 712.261:

    Chapter 712. Article II. Sec. 712.261. Obedience to parkway police, special police and signs.
    No person shall fail, neglect or refuse to comply with or obey the direction or command of any Westchester County Parkway policeman or special Westchester County parkway policeman, indicated by gesture or otherwise, or comply with or obey any instruction, direction, regulation, warning or prohibition written or printed, displayed or appearing on any sign or placard on any part of County-owned property. The directions on any such sign or placard may be disregarded only on order of a parkway policeman or special parkway policeman.
    and the corresponding penalty:
    Chapter 712. Article VII. Sec. 712.651. Enforcement and penalty.
    1. Any person who violates any provisions of the foregoing ordinances except Article IV and Article V shall be guilty of an offense and shall, upon conviction, be subject to a fine not exceeding $100.00 or by imprisonment not exceeding 30 days, or by both such fine and imprisonment.
    The officer said that since this is a violation of the Laws of Westchester, if found guilty, this would not add points to my NY DMV record. Is this correct? If so, should I just plead guilty?

    With regards to the "Disobey Sign" violation, technically there was no sign --- just traffic cones. And if there was a sign, it would have said that the parkway is closed from 10 am to 2 pm due to the Bike Sundays event.

    The other side of the ticket says I could plead guilty by mail with explanation. If I do plead guilty, and send an explanation (mainly the stuff I wrote above), are my reasons enough to waive the fine?

    I don't have a problem taking time off to attend a hearing, if necessary, but would you guys advise me to go through it, if there are no points at stake, and a maximum of $100 in fine? I do want to minimize the fine if possible.

    Sorry for the long winded post. This is my first ticket, and I'm not familiar with the implications of pleading guilty (even with no points) on my driving record/insurance premium. If you got to this point, thanks for reading.What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)?
  2. #2
    I_Got_Banned is offline Senior Member
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    Thank you for the post... And although it is loong, you did list all the important info...
    Quote Originally Posted by defluxer View Post
    7. The officer said since the cones were still there that I should not have driven past them.
    I agree... I think it is general knowledge that cones set up on a lane or a roadway means you don't cross over.
    Quote Originally Posted by defluxer View Post
    With regards to the "Disobey Sign" violation, technically there was no sign --- just traffic cones. And if there was a sign, it would have said that the parkway is closed from 10 am to 2 pm due to the Bike Sundays event.
    The fact that there was no sign specifying an event or a time duration for the closure is more reason to suggest that the roadway is closed until the cones are removed.

    As for the code with which you were cited, I do think it still applies... I will underline the parts which I think apply in this case:

    Chapter 712. Article II. Sec. 712.261. Obedience to parkway police, special police and signs.

    No person shall fail, neglect... or comply with or obey any instruction, direction, regulation, warning or prohibition.... displayed ... on any part of County-owned property.


    Just my opinion... Others might disagree!

    Good luck!
  3. #3
    Maestro64 is offline Member
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    So they have an event set up which precludes you from leaving you home every weekend. I am not sure, but I think you should go after them for that fact alone. Because you live along that road, they can not block the road so you can not leave your home every Sunday.

    What happens if you have to get somewhere between 10 and 2, you have to stay at your home.

    To pick on IGB a bit, cones on the road do not automatically say what you should or should not do. Cone are not a sign, therefore, you did not disobey anything. I know this is splitting hairs, but the law is specific about a sign or the directions of an officer, it does not say anything about a traffic control device which one could argue a cone could be consider.

    There is no way for you to know those cones were placed there legally or by an authorized entity, it could have been placed there by constructions workers,it did not say you could not access your home. If it was critical for cars not to be on that road then they should have had an officer posted there to keep people clear of the area.

    To answer your question about points, since it appears the law it local law not a state law it may have no baring on your State license, so the officer could be right.
  4. #4
    I_Got_Banned is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post
    To pick on IGB a bit, cones on the road do not automatically say what you should or should not do.
    They don't?

    Quote Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post
    There is no way for you to know those cones were placed there legally or by an authorized entity, it could have been placed there by constructions workers
    Next time you see cones on a road somewhere, go ahead and drive though them to get to the other side, ..., and come back and let us know what happens.
  5. #5
    defluxer is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks for the helpful replies.

    To clarify: The house where I live is along the northbound side of the parkway. The northbound side has two lanes. The cones are placed as to separate the two lanes, and the line of cones stretch from the parkway entrance south of the row of houses to the last house.

    I think, but I am not sure since I haven't done this yet, that from 10 am to 2 pm, cars can still enter the parkway from the entrance south of the houses, so residents can still drive north to reach their home.

    What I am not sure, and what I have not tried, is if residents can drive away from their houses, by driving south along the coned-in northbound lane. I haven't tried to do that as I've said that I always waited until after 2 PM before leaving the house.

    As for the cones, it is clear to me why the cones are there before 2 pm, even without a sign. After 2 pm, and seeing that cars are already on the southbound lane, I assumed that it was now OK to drive past the cones.

    It does seem to me that they delayed opening the northbound side of the parkway to ease the heavy traffic at the county center where there is a graduation ceremony to be held.

    Regarding the points, is it correct to say that only violations of the NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL) (and violations in Ontario/Quebec) result in points added to the DMV driver record?
    Last edited by defluxer; 06-29-2009 at 02:10 PM.
  6. #6
    LSCAP is offline Member
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    I would fight it.
    You live there.
    You weren't just passing by.
    You did not get or see any other warning other than, for some (unknown reason at the time) the cones were still there.

    I seem to remember that, At times like that (Blocking the road) they notified you and had officers available to help you get out of your house, if needed.

    As you do live there, the cop should have used better, in my opinion, judgment.
  7. #7
    defluxer is offline Junior Member
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    Update

    I went to court today for the arraignment. The cop who was manning the security check was surprised to see that I was scheduled for the courtroom handling criminal cases, and not traffic court.

    I waited for my turn in the courtroom for about two hours. Those who had lawyers seemed to be prioritized, even though I think I was one of the first ones in the room. So I heard cases involving DUI, drug possession, order of protections, disorderly conduct, etc. with several lawyers handling multiple cases.

    When it was my turn, the ADA said she doesn't handle a case like mine. The judge gave me my charge sheet, then asked for my plea. I asked whether it would enter into some criminal record and what the fine would be, and he admitted that he didn't know about the fine. He had someone looked it up, and recalled my case later on.

    When I was called again, the judge said that he'd fine me $50 without any surcharges (which doesn't seem to apply to my case), and he told me he doesn't see my type of case that often in his courtroom. I also asked him whether it would affect my driving record and he said it won't. I decided to plead guilty and just pay the fine.
  8. #8
    HighwayMan is offline Senior Member
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    I am very familiar with the area in question, but not how they go about shutting it down for the Bike Sundays.

    All along, if you weren't sure about what the restrictions were, you should have asked a Westchester County Police Officer well before that fateful day. They are around that area quite a bit, especially around the County Center. You should probably look into that now so you don't have to be restricted in the future.

    The officer and court were correct - Laws of Westchester violations are no points. However, keep in mind that it doesn't have to be VTL to carry points. For instance, violations of the New York City Traffic Rules often carry points.

    What court did you go to? White Plains City Court??
  9. #9
    HighwayMan is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post

    To pick on IGB a bit, cones on the road do not automatically say what you should or should not do. Cone are not a sign, therefore, you did not disobey anything...

    There is no way for you to know those cones were placed there legally or by an authorized entity, it could have been placed there by constructions workers,
    In addition to making difficult reading, Maestro64 sometimes seems to have no idea what reality is.

    Anyway, I would consider cones traffic control devices. The part of the statute that reads, indicated by gesture or otherwise would seem to include something like cones, at least under a broad interpretation.

    And in New York State "constructions" (sic) workers can be considered flagpersons, to be obeyed like school crossing guards, police officers, etc. So don't automatically disregard a guy with an orange vest and a hardhat when he signals you to stop.

    The Bronx River Parkway is a strange animal in that area. Goes back to the days when it was designed and built. In those days parkways were considered extensions of the parks. Check [url=http://www.nycroads.com]New York Area Roads, Crossings and Exits[/url] for a history of the BRP.

    A parkway is not automatically a controlled access highway - no road is. And certainly in your area it is not, according to the definition in the Vehicle and Traffic Law.
  10. #10
    defluxer is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by HighwayMan View Post
    The officer and court were correct - Laws of Westchester violations are no points. However, keep in mind that it doesn't have to be VTL to carry points. For instance, violations of the New York City Traffic Rules often carry points.

    What court did you go to? White Plains City Court??
    Re: Laws of Westchester and points --- I read that Article V of Chapter 712 deals with Traffic Regulations, and the section on penalties for violations of Article V indicate that the fines/penalties are as provided by the NY VTL. Would those carry points as well?

    Yes, I went to the White Plains City Court.
  11. #11
    HighwayMan is offline Senior Member
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    Well actually, the VTL does not specify points for particular violations. For instance, you cannot look up in the VTL how many points speeding 20 miles above the posted limit is. That information should be included in the Rules and Regulations of the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles, which is under NYCRR.

    Let me know what reference you found for the Laws of Westchester - last time I poked around I couldn't find a good online listing.
  12. #12
    defluxer is offline Junior Member
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    Here's the link to the Laws of Westchester - [url=http://www.ecode360.com/?custId=WE0640]http://www.ecode360.com/?custId=WE0640[/url]
  13. #13
    HighwayMan is offline Senior Member
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    Got it, thanks.

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