21461a CVC Failure to Obey a Traffic Sign or Signal

red traffic light

John J. Pearson, founding and lead attorney of Cheap Traffic Attorneys, has exceptional experience as a traffic defense lawyer in Los Angeles and throughout Orange County. Before practicing traffic law for the past two decades, he worked as a California police officer, providing him with a unique perspective on how to fight traffic violations. His prowess in this legal field is evidenced by the fact that he has successfully represented over 10,000 defendants in Southern California. One of the charges his clients are often charged with failure to obey a traffic sign or signal.

What Is Failure to Obey a Traffic Sign or Signal under California Vehicle Code?

Section 21461a of the California Vehicle Code (CVC) defines this violation as “Failure to obey any sign or signal erected or maintained,” including regulatory and warning signs, or even pavement markings. Thus, a driver can be charged with this violation for:

  • Failing to yield at a yield sign
  • Encroaching on a sidewalk
  • Ignoring flashing lights
  • Ignoring portable or temporary signs
  • Not obeying railroad crossings signs or signals
  • Making an illegal U-turn
  • Running a red light or stop sign
  • Failing to obey the posted speed limit, especially when passing a school or work zone

The vagueness of this statute has earned “failure to obey a traffic sign or signal” the reputation of being a catchall phrase, used by law enforcement when an officer is unable to specify a particular charge. For this reason, traffic tickets for this generic violation tend to be more easily challenged by a sharp traffic attorney. Unless the officer can cite a law that the sign or signal is meant to enforce, Cheap Traffic Attorneys has a good chance of getting your ticket dismissed.

Advantages of Using Cheap Traffic Attorneys 

There are a great many benefits to using our inexpensive legal services, including:

  • We will save you the inconvenience of having to take the time to appear in court
  • We will save you the cost of taking a day from work, having to travel to court and park 
  • We have a thorough understanding of how to negotiate in traffic court
  • We know California Vehicle Code traffic law in-depth
  • We have a rapport with, and the respect of, local judges and other court personnel

For Cheap Traffic Attorneys, fighting a failure to obey a traffic signal or sign ticket is second nature. We will be able to contest your ticket with tried and true strategies and without the stress that frequently gets in the way of fruitful negotiations.

Why Bother “Fighting City Hall”?

If you have been ticketed for this violation, you should contact Cheap Traffic Attorneys promptly. Though there may be a temptation to “just pay the fine,” you should remember that even relatively light fines, like the $238 required for failure to obey a traffic signal or sign, will increase with penalties and other fees. 

Pleading guilty to this offense will also add a point to your license which will increase your insurance premiums for the next 3 to 5 years. In addition, license points can add up quickly and you may be moving yourself closer to a suspension or revocation of your license in the future. Isn’t it worth having a professional handle your traffic ticket so that you come away with a dismissal or a plea bargain to a lesser charge?

Defenses Against Failure to Obey a Traffic Sign or Signal

John J. Pearson is an astute negotiator with a large bag of tricks. He will determine which tactic will work best in your case in order to get your ticket dismissed or your violation recategorized with a plea bargain. Here are some of the techniques he may use to save you money and other consequences of a guilty plea. 

In many cases, the police officer has taken the easy way out by citing you for failure to obey a traffic signal or sign because he/she couldn’t remember the precise code and knew that unless a code was entered on your ticket, your case would be dismissed. If Cheap Traffic Attorneys can prove this happened, your case will undoubtedly be dismissed. 

Another tactic to prove your innocence of the charge is to demonstrate that the traffic device in question was not visible due to overgrowth of trees, snowfall, a large vehicle obstructing your view or for some other reason. Also, if the officer never pointed out the precise traffic control device that you disobeyed, his or her credibility will be brought into question.

Drivers Most at Risk When Cited for Failure to Obey a Traffic Sign or Signal 

Nobody enjoys getting a traffic ticket, but for some individuals, it is more disturbing than for others. Two cases in point: [1] those who have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and [2] those who already have numerous points on their license. 

If your livelihood depends on your CDL, any traffic ticket is a big deal. In this situation, accumulating too many points in a year or two may not just be an inconvenience — it may mean the loss of your job and may make future employment difficult or impossible. By the same token, if you have been careless or unlucky in the past and already have points on your license, this conviction may put you over the limit. 

While you may be able to remain employed if your license is suspended or revoked, your lifestyle will be negatively impacted. Not only will you have to find alternate means of commutation, but you experience the challenges of being unable to use your car to buy groceries, shop for other necessities, take your kids to school, attend classes, and drive to social events. Most people don’t realize how much they depend on their driving privileges until they lose them.

Contact Us and Count on Us

Cheap Traffic Attorneys can spare you the hassle of fighting your failure to obey a traffic sign or signal ticket alone. Contact us as soon as you receive a ticket and we will take over. With our highly skilled team at the helm, you can rest assured that we will achieve the best possible outcome and work hard to protect your future.

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