Understanding Traffic Tickets for Failing to Yield to An Emergency Vehicle

October 22, 2017

Most people learn as early as drivers’ education that they need to pull over or get out of the way of an emergency vehicle when it is attempting to pass. Like with school buses, citations and other consequences can apply if you do not get out of the way of an emergency vehicle, and a police officer sees you engaged in this behavior.

In fact, you could be looking at impacts on your driving record and your license if you are not careful. If you are accused of violating the law as it relates to yielding to an emergency vehicle, you need to retain an experienced California traffic ticket attorney immediately.

California Laws Related to Emergency Vehicles and Other Drivers

Under the California Vehicle Code 21806, all vehicles have to yield to emergency vehicles. This means that as soon as you see an emergency vehicle in your rearview mirror or anywhere around you, you need to pull over to the right-hand side of the road or the curb to allow any approaching emergency vehicles to pass quickly. In many cases a police officer will be trailing immediately behind the emergency vehicle. These police officers are in place not only to provide guidance to the emergency traffic but to ticket any drivers who fail to yield the right of way.

It might seem frustrating or difficult to get out of the way of an emergency vehicle when you have very little room to maneuver. However, you should certainly make an effort to do so, to minimize the consequences if a police officer sees you. Failing to yield the right of way to an emergency vehicle could lead to multiple challenges and an officer may conclude that there are three primary ways that you can fail to yield.

The first is known as not coming to a complete stop after moving out of the emergency vehicle’s path, the second is moving directly in front of an emergency vehicle and blocking its path. Finally the officer might conclude that you did not let the emergency vehicle safely pass. Using your hazard lights can help to alert other drivers that there is an emergency vehicle coming down the way and that you need to get out of the path of this.

What You Need to Know About Traffic Tickets for Failing to Yield

You could be looking at up to $490 in fines and a point to your DMV record. Points always have negative effects, even in small values, and should therefore be avoided at all costs. Furthermore, the point stays on your driving record for 3 years, which means that it will show up in any future record searches if you are pulled over for a speeding ticket in California in the future. Points added to your driving record can also increase your insurance rates.

Over the course of 3 years, you may be looking at up to $750 or more in the insurance costs alone due to having one point on your record. Once you factor in what you’ll need to pay for the fine, for failing to yield to an emergency vehicle, the total cost of this one mistake can be greater than $1200. It is strongly recommended that if you see an emergency vehicle in or near your pathway that you get out of the way. You will need to come to court with ample evidence in order to fight these kinds of allegations. The police officer that wrote you the ticket for failing to yield will need to appear in court to give testimony and to prove the case. The driver is also given the chance to defend his or her case, but you should never approach this without the help of an experienced traffic ticket attorney and with your own evidence.

How to Capture More Evidence to Use in Your Traffic Ticket Defense

Revisiting the exact location in which your vehicle was pulled over to take pictures of the area could help to explain the circumstances you were experiencing at the time the emergency vehicle came near you. Pictures can give a good visual representation of what it was like on that particular day.

Incorporate pictures with traffic lights, traffic signs or anything else that helps to support your side of the case. The judge will evaluate the pictures provided as evidence and he or she will then have a more clear picture of what happened and the circumstances. Another thing to do is to use a written explanation of the circumstances which should be captured as soon as possible after the incident happens.

Choosing to consult with a California traffic ticket attorney to get the ticket dismissed altogether is strongly recommended because an attorney will likely have much more experience battling allegation of failing to yield to an emergency vehicle. It can be difficult for the police officer who has to appear in court to give testimony to remember all of the pertinent details associated with the situation. When you have you have your own record and pictures to support your claim, you are much more likely to avoid the serious consequences of failing to yield to an emergency vehicle.  Call 1-800-CITATION for a free consultation.