If you’re caught driving on the wrong side of the road, including making an illegal U-turn, you’ll be ticketed. Next, you’ll have to decide how to handle that ticket. Do you pay it? Do you fight it? It may seem like an unnecessary expense and struggle to argue a ticket, but not fighting it can lead to serious consequences like spending time in jail and paying hundreds of dollars in fines and fees. A skilled San Diego traffic ticket attorney from McElfresh Law can help fight your ticket.
We’ve all made mistakes while driving or decided to perform maneuvers we aren’t quite sure we should make – like that U-turn when you missed the street you wanted. It’s nothing to be proud of, but it isn’t uncommon. However, even if everyone makes mistakes, it doesn’t make them less illegal. California takes unsafe traffic moves seriously, even if they seem relatively minor and don’t hurt anyone.
Driving on the Wrong Side of the Road
California Vehicle Code Section 21651 outlines how traffic should flow on divided public roads. As all drivers know, traffic on a divided road moves forward on the right side of the road. The highway or street might be divided by a barrier, curb, or solid parallel lines. If a physical barrier is present, drivers aren’t allowed to cross it or pass and drive on the other side of the road. This includes U-turns unless there’s a designated spot for turns, including U-turns. Under California law, if a car crosses the barrier and drives on the left side of the road, the driver can be ticketed.
Potential Penalties for Driving on the Wrong Side of the Road
The consequences for driving on the wrong side of the road depend on whether anyone was hurt or killed because of the incident. If no one is hurt, the offense is a misdemeanor, and you can face 1 year in jail and a $10,000 fine. If someone was hurt, the prosecutor will seek a felony and the defendant could be sentenced to 3 years in prison.
In addition to jail time and a fine, you’ll be responsible for court costs and attorney’s fees. You’ll also be given points on your license. If you accumulate multiple points on your license within a specific period of time, you could have your license suspended or revoked.
Defenses Your San Diego Traffic Attorney May Use
One of the main defenses to this charge is that you inadvertently drove across the barrier. The offense requires someone to willfully drive on the wrong side of the road. If it was by accident, you may not be convicted.
Combined with a DUI
In some situations, driving on the wrong side of the road is combined with an arrest for driving under the influence. A DUI is always a serious charge, even if it’s your first offense. If you’re convicted of a DUI, you’ll face a permanent criminal record, jail time, fines, points on your license, revocation of your driver’s license, loss of any professional license you hold, and higher auto insurance rates. Even if you’re allowed to continue to drive, you may have your license restricted or be responsible for installing an ignition interlock device.
The consequences of the DUI and for driving on the wrong side of the road could mean extended jail time and increased fines. You may also be more likely to lose your driver’s license and for a longer period of time.
If you’ve been ticketed for both offenses, it’s very important to have an experienced attorney by your side to protect your rights and attempt to minimize the consequences of conviction.
Contact a San Diego Traffic Ticket Attorney
By paying a traffic ticket, you plead guilty or no contest to the offense and accept whatever consequences come next. This can include a stiff fine, time in jail, and points on your license. If you’ve had previous traffic violations and have accumulated too many points on your record, you could lose your license for a period of time. What began as a simple traffic ticket could turn into much more without the help of a San Diego drivers license lawyer.
San Diego traffic attorney Jessica McElfresh has been defending people like you for years. She understands that people make mistakes while driving and severe punishments may not fit the situation. It’s also possible for the police to make a mistake and ticket someone who isn’t guilty of the offense. Jessica will get to know you and every facet of your case to defend you and minimize the consequences of a traffic ticket. For more information contact McElfresh Law at (858) 756-7107.