Car accidents are life-changing, and insurance companies and opposing counsel will look to blame anyone. The responding officer will approach the scene and cite you for violating CA Vehicle Code 21651-driving across a divided highway. You can face felony charges if the other driver suffers injury or dies which also comes with a lengthy prison sentence.
Enhancements and criminal history can impact your prison sentencing. Avoid extended prison sentences by hiring a Los Angeles DUI lawyer for fair treatment throughout the criminal justice process.
Intricacies of Vehicle Code 21651
Vehicle Code 21651 has four critical sections that impact your criminal defense claim. If you cross a divided highway, you will face fines starting at $238 and one point on your driving record. Depending on your points, the DMV can issue negligent operator license suspensions.
The point system is as follows:
- Four points in 12 months
- Six points in 24 months
- Eight points in 36 months
Your current points will also impact your penalties and legal defenses. You can defend yourself against diving across a divided highway, but you must speak to a Los Angeles DUI attorney to craft the best legal strategy.
It is essential to pay attention to tickets for VC 21651 because it results in additional repercussions like charges for failure to appear, which impacts your sentencing. You will also have higher insurance rates.
Related Laws Pertaining to Vehicle Code 21651
Motorists must drive on the right side of the road for safety reasons. When a divided highway has markings on the street, curbs, double parallel lines, or barriers, it is unlawful for any driver to cross the divided section. Making a U-turn, semicircle, or left turn is illegal unless painted markings allow for it.
While it is a felony charge, you do not face additional charges. You will not face incarceration unless there are enhancements. Three laws related to Vehicle Code 21651 can enhance your penalties and impact your future:
CA Vehicle Code 23101 Reckless Driving
This law makes driving with wanton disregard for safety illegal. Without injuries, the violation is a misdemeanor with punishments like:
- Fines between $145 and $1,000
- Up to 90 days in county jail
You face additional penalties if there are injuries, along with your VC 21651 violation. Combining these charges makes your case complex.
California Vehicle Code 22100.5 Illegal U-Turn
This law prohibits drivers from making an illegal U-turn at intersections with traffic signals. Penalties involve fines up to $400 and one DMV point. Lastly, Violation of Vehicle Code 2800.4 prohibits motorists from willfully evading a peace officer. You can face:
- Six months to one year in jail
- Fines ranging from $1,000 to $10,000
One violation is enough to turn your life upside down, but adding these other violations raises the stakes. You must discuss your options with our Los Angeles DUI attorney.
Traffic School and Violating VC 21651
Attending traffic school is not an obligation when you violate VC 21651, but you can opt to attend and help your chances. Drivers must still pay the fines that come with the violation, but they avoid license points by attending traffic school. Traffic school is an excellent option when:
- You have a valid license.
- You get a moving violation ticket.
- You were driving a noncommercial vehicle.
Traffic school is an option, but only some drivers who get a violation can avoid penalties by attending. Before signing up for traffic school, discuss it with your lawyer to see if it will help your case. You will have to pay for school out of pocket, so ensure it is a suitable investment.
VC 21651 and Personal Injury Lawsuits
If you allegedly caused an accident and the other motorist suffers injuries, they can file a personal injury claim against you. They will allege that you were negligent and must pay them for their losses and damages. Proving negligence is typically challenging unless there is a statute violation.
Suppose you have a ticket for crossing a divided highway. In that case, it can impact the personal injury claim outcome and result in you paying for damages and your insurance rates increasing.
Legal Defenses Available
Legal remedies exist for traffic violations and criminal charges. Felony charges often scare motorists. Our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers have experience crafting a viable legal defense for crossing a divided highway and other traffic violations.
For VC 21651, there are several common defenses:
- The officer issued a ticket incorrectly.
- The motorist had to cross the divided highway for an emergency.
- The divided section was not visible.
- You did not willfully drive on the wrong side.
While these defenses are available, you need supporting evidence like witness statements, surveillance videos, and pictures. When challenging a ticket, you must immediately speak to a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer.
Criminal Defense Lawyers Can Help
Many benefits come with hiring an attorney, and you will likely get a better deal when you have a lawyer working for you. The advantages of hiring a lawyer include the following:
- Attorneys know how to get charges or tickets dismissed or reduced
- Prosecutors offer better deals to a motorist who has legal representation
- You do not appear in court, and your lawyer appears on your behalf
You must get legal representation if you have prior convictions or related charges. California has three strikes sentencing law for felony cases which can increase your penalties. Even one previous conviction results in an additional five years of imprisonment.
Two prior convictions can result in 25 years to life.
Call a Los Angeles DUI Attorney Today
Refrain from ignoring tickets for traffic violations because many carry criminal repercussions. Your finances, employment, and future will hang in the balance depending on these charges and your criminal history. You can lose years of your life for a simple mistake.
You can protect yourself by hiring a Los Angeles DUI lawyer. Reach out to our law firm using our contact page or give us a call and schedule an initial consultation. Our criminal defense lawyers are ready to assist you by building a defense and lowering your potential penalties.