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Ask a Cop?: Failure to yield to an emergency vehicle


—–Original Message—–

From: katie
Sent: Thursday, August 29, 2013 7:32 AM
Subject: failure to yield to emergency vehicle?

If a cop already has someone pulled over on the side of the road, and you swerve around them but don’t go completely into the second lane, is that a considered a failure to yield to an emergency vehicle?

I received a ticket last night for this and I don’t feel that I did anything wrong. When the cop was done giving the car he had pulled over a ticket (I’m just guessing he did) he then turned on his lights and I pulled to the side thinking he had to get somewhere. But then I realized he was pulling me over. And gave me a ticket saying I failed to turn completely into the second lane while he was on the side of the road. However I did not fail to yield to him because I swerved around him pulling over the other car, and again pulled off to the side of the road when he pulled me over.

Would you agree that I do or do not deserve a ticket? I usually don’t disagree with cops, but a $178 ticket for failing to yield when I did in fact yield, I even slowed my car down as I went by him (because I always feel extra cautious when driving by a cop) and swerved around them. His arugement is that I did not turn into the second lane on the road. However, I did partially turn into the second lane, it just wasn’t a complete 100% turn into the other lane.

Do I deserve this ticket or can I go to court and fight it?



The law is often interpreted differently by different people. If you go to court and say you slowed down and partially changed lanes before passing, it will be your word against the officers. I see people disobey this law quite a bit because they just are not aware of it. If you go to court and say you knew of the law and explain the actions you took the judge may or may not side with you. In the least, if the officer doesn’t show up the citation will be dismissed. Sounds like you feel you did enough while the officer felt you didn’t do enough. If you feel strongly that you didn’t deserve the ticket you should go to court to fight it. Just remain calm, don’t interrupt the officer, and wait for your turn to explain your side. Photos of the scene would be helpful showing your view as you approached the area. With an enlarged photo you’ll be able to show the judge exactly what you did. People with great photos and prepared for their case often have a good chance in court rather than the people who just show up empty handed and say they are innocent.

Here’s the law:

The Law

Vehicle Code 21809.  (a) A person driving a vehicle on a freeway approaching a stationary authorized emergency vehicle that is displaying emergency lights, a stationary tow truck that is displaying flashing amber warning lights, or a stationary marked Department of Transportation vehicle that is displaying flashing amber warning lights, shall approach with due caution and, before passing in a lane immediately adjacent to the authorized emergency vehicle, tow truck, or Department of Transportation vehicle, absent other direction by a peace officer, proceed to do one of the following:

(1) Make a lane change into an available lane not immediately adjacent to the authorized emergency vehicle, tow truck, or Department of Transportation vehicle, with due regard for safety and traffic conditions, if practicable and not prohibited by law.

(2) If the maneuver described in paragraph (1) would be unsafe or impracticable, slow to a reasonable and prudent speed that is safe for existing weather, road, and vehicular or pedestrian traffic conditions.

(b) A violation of subdivision (a) is an infraction, punishable by a fine of not more than fifty dollars ($50).

(c) The requirements of subdivision (a) do not apply if the stationary authorized emergency vehicle that is displaying emergency lights, the stationary tow truck that is displaying flashing amber warning lights, or the stationary marked Department of Transportation vehicle that is displaying flashing amber warning lights is not adjacent to the freeway or is separated from the freeway by a protective physical barrier.

CopTalk Staff

The 13 weirdest Bay Area crime stories of 2013 – Gallery

See the full story on - Ah, the Bay Area. Weird and dirty, strange and exotic. It’s a place so quirky that we explain things away with a shrug and the phrase, “Ah, San Francisco.” The Chronicle’s reporters encounter so many bizarre tales each year. We compiled 13 of the strangest in this year-end gallery.


Domestic Violence


Probably one of the most often types of call that an officer gets dispatched to and also one of the most dangerous is the domestic disturbance/violence call. The first police officer funeral that I ever attended really drove that point home. Two Richmond Ca. police officers were gunned down while climbing a stairway inside of a residence after receiving a domestic violence call from a woman inside. Both officers were killed and that was the hardest funeral that I have ever attended. To see the officer’s families and children crying was almost too much to handle. But it is not just dangerous to the responding officers, it is dangerous for victims of domestic violence to stay in a situation where they are battered or abused. Before I get into this topic, please, if you are a victim of abuse, whether you are old or young, married or dating, male or female, whether it is physical or mental abuse, Get Help Now.  No one, and I repeat No One, should have to live in a situation of abuse. There is help out there if you want it. Every phone book has emergency numbers in them. Every police or Sheriffs department has hotline phone numbers for abused victims who need help. Physical abuse is a crime that has to be stopped.  Tell someone.  Help is only a phone call away.

I am not going to get too deep into this, because I could type for days and not even scratch the surface of the types and causes of domestic violence. Domestic violence and abuse hotlines can provide important information about getting help, shelter, restraining orders, counseling and assistance in getting your life back together.

I’ll never understand how a victim of domestic violence can stay in a situation of abuse. I know there are reasons, the most common is fear of leaving and loss of self confidence, but to see someone almost lose their life, then go back to the person who did this to them is beyond my understanding. I’ll never forget a call that I went to a few years back. I got dispatched to a call of domestic violence at a house with screaming and crashing noises heard by the dispatcher in the background. When we got to the house, we found a blood trail coming from the front porch, down the stairs, and across the street. This was not just a drip of blood here and there; it was a solid thick trail that was obviously a serious injury. We followed the trail, through a few front yards, over the hood of a car, and up to a front porch of another residence. In my mind, I was going to find a dead body here. Due to the amount of blood loss in the trail we followed, I did not think that someone could survive. I did not know if the injury was a stabbing or a shooting, but the amount of blood made it clear that the injury was serious.

We found a woman collapsed on the porch in a pool of blood. Miraculously, she had a pulse and was breathing. She had severe head and facial injuries, she had beaten with a heavy object in the face and head so badly that her face was not recognizable as a face. Fire and paramedic personnel arrived and she was taken to a trauma center. We went to her house and with a PA speaker and ordered her husband out. After throwing items through the front windows, he finally came out, covered in blood. He was not injured; it was his wife’s blood that he was covered with. He had beaten her with a ceramic vase. When that broke, he continued the beating with a chair leg. He was arrested and taken to jail. We did our part, we got medical attention to save her life, and we arrested her husband, and provided her with all the needed information to get out of the situation.

About a month later, I took my family to a nearby lake for a little swimming on a hot day. I was shocked to see the same woman that was beaten almost to death, with her husband, the scumbag who did it to her. Turns out that his family bailed him out of jail, and due to his wife’s insecurity and fears, she went back to him.  I was truly shocked. Since then, I have seen the same scenario over and over again. Victims of domestic violence and abuse returning to the same people who batter or abuse them. Abuse and domestic violence almost always get worse. What starts as verbal abuse, almost always escalates into physical violence later.  Drugs, Alcohol, Depression, and Anger are all risk-associated factors that can lead to domestic violence.  During holidays, there is a noticeable increase in suicides and domestic violence.

It is not unusual to go to a call of a domestic violence situation, and to arrest a husband for spousal abuse. Upon our arrival, we often find the wife injured and bleeding, begging us to arrest her husband.  It is not uncommon to arrest the husband, only to have the wife then jump on our backs trying to prevent us from making the arrest.

My friend and a fellow police officer told me of an incident with his neighbor. My friend was actually at my house when his wife called, saying that it looked like the entire sheriff’s dept. was at their neighbor’s house. He later learned that his neighbor, who he describes as meek and mild, had gotten home late and drunk. After a brief argument with his wife who took his car keys away, he pushed his wife up against a wall threatening her. He stormed into his garage and she locked him out. He picked up an ax and began chopping his way back into the house as the police arrived.  My friend later talked to his neighbor who told him that she has been married several years, and this was the first time that her husband ever laid a had on her. Alcohol and anger was the cause of this incident.

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