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Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
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ct 14-236 Failure to drive in proper lane: I frequently

Resolved Question:

ct 14-236
Failure to drive in proper lane:

I frequently run out of gas, as was the case here.
I had stalled out while sitting in traffic on I84 west in waterbury ct
My suv 1998 mercury mountaineer for what ever reason after it stalls out if turned off and waited 5 min it will start back up and get another 1-2 miles down the road going under 15 miles per hour.
I have frequently stalled on the highway and have been able to make it to a gas station because of this.
I always sit in the shoulder then drive in the shoulder at 10-15 miles per hour staying out of traffic until i reach an exit.
on this occasion I stalled out in heavy dead stop traffic, I entered the shoulder waited and re started my car, drove as i do with flashers on to the next exit, but another car came behind me and followed off the exit, after which we were both pulled over for the above infraction.
I stated to the officer I was just trying to safely exit the high way before I ran out of gas completely. He stated "thats still failure to drive in the proper lane"
I searched online and found that numerous sites say if at all possible to safely exit the high way because the shoulder is not a safe place to be. they sited deaths on the shoulder every year etc.
What I would like to know is: Is there any defense to driving safely off the highway using the shoulder if the car is partially disabled and unable to maintain the minimum speed of the highway. like in my case or if you have a partially flat tire etc.
I need something solid for a defense if there is one.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question.

My apologies but there is no legitimate defense in this case. The shoulder is not made for driving, generally--it is either designed for emergency stops (not slow driving), or for emergency vehicle using the shoulder as a means of avoiding traffic. An another emergency use for shoulders is for old-fashioned air-cooled motorcycles who may get overheated in traffic if not ridden but idling in place, but even that practice is generally ignored because almost all motorcycles are water-cooled and no longer need that protection. In case of a flat tire there is no need to get on the shoulder unless to replace the tire itself, so that defense is not valid. Furthermore driving on the highways is a privilege, not a right, and a traffic infraction is a "strict-liability" offense. That means that the officer simply has to prove that you did the infraction, not that you intended otherwise, or that you had some sort of a justification.

That does not mean the judge may not buy it, as you can possibly use the 'air-cooled' defense for your vehicle, but that is still up to the judge as to whether to agree or not simply because facially this is still a violation.

Good luck.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Did you get my reply??
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
To commit this infraction it looks to me from Murciav. Monahan
"in short he violated 14-236 by failing to ascertain that the movement of his vehicle from one lane to another could be safely accomplished"

1)That there would need to be a lane change unsafely made to be guilty

what is a motorist supposed to do if they cannot maintain the minimum speed limit? 14-220

Since there are 3000 deaths by shoulder accidents every year there is no defense or justifiable reason to get off the high way using the shoulder? so as not to become a statistic?

So the Options are:
1) wait in in the car to possibly get hit my traffic
2)get out and walk to get gas and possibly get hit by traffic
3) put the gas in on the road side and possibly get hit by traffic when AAA arrives
there is no option to safely remove yourself from the roadway, staying out of harms way legally!!?

& thanks for the lecture on it a privilege to drive, just because a cop says your guilty of an infraction doesnt mean you are.
I've beat 3 "use of cell phone" infractions because the police dont know the laws there sworn to uphold!!!

Again what is a useful argument?
Id like a detailed answer which is what ive agreed to pay for
nothing less.
a detailed answer as to
a) how what ive done is illegal or
b) a detailed argument as a defense

Thank you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Relist: Other.
Answer the response i sent before he went off line.
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your follow-up, Dan.

I am happy to hear that you beat previous infractions but it may be both due to your ability to formulate a valid argument and the officer's inability to stick to the facts.

The law states:

Sec. 14-236. Multiple-lane highways. When any highway has been divided into two or more clearly marked lanes for traffic, (1) a vehicle shall be driven as nearly as practicable entirely within a single lane and shall not be moved from such lane until the driver has ascertained that such movement can be made with safety and (2) the State Traffic Commission may erect, on state highways, and local traffic authorities, in accordance with standards approved by the State Traffic Commission, may erect on highways under their jurisdiction, signs directing slow-moving traffic to use a designated lane or, with signs, signals or markings, may designate those lanes to be used by traffic moving in a particular direction regardless of the center of the highway, and drivers of vehicles shall obey the directions of each such sign, signal or marking. Violation of subdivision (1) of this section shall be an infraction.

---//---

As you can see under the statutory language if a lane is not designated for traffic, you cannot use it. That is why I stated that what you have done is something illegal because under statute you do not have a ride to use the lane for any other reason than designated, and because there are no designations, you cannot utilize the lane.

PS. I did not give you a lecture on the 'privilege', I pointed that out because unlike "rights" that you may have under the state or federal laws, driving is privilege and can be controlled or revoked by the state, meaning that it is treated differently under law. It was not meant to appear condescending or to talk down to you if that was the message, it was just to show that this is why for the most part the police can give you a strict liability offense ticket where they have to prove nothing but the fact the offense was committed.

Good luck.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
So you can think of no circumstance that its allowed by law to drive whatsoever in the break down lane?
Justified use etc.
even murder has a "justified" defense
If a family member is having a heart attack and traffic is backed up its not justifiable to ride the shoulder to get off the exit and get them to the hospital?
a woman having a baby?

I would think being afraid for your life is justification for a minor infraction. Wouldnt you?

Safety procedures outlined in several online what to do if you break down" clearly state in the instance of a flat tire to get off the road and to the nearest exit "its better to lose a rim than your life" driving in ct under the speed limit is illegal "in lane" so damed if ya do damed if ya dont?

and what about if a vehicle is in the shoulder and un able to return to a "lane" for what ever reason they cant be it a flat or poor running vehicle or both is that not following the law as its written, if i were to get back into traffic and cause an accident for not ascertaining the sfae lane change then im guilty but if i just ride the shoulder im guilty!
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your follow-up, Dan.

Perhaps I need to explain a bit more what I mean by the term "justification". Under law that does not mean that you aren't guilty of the offense, there is just an another reason for behavior. For example if you were driving someone to the hospital in an emergency, that may be deemed a "justification" by the courts. But there is no set rule for it, rather the judge hears the situation and decides for himself or herself on a subjective basis as to whether or not the behavior was valid, excusable, or otherwise justified. The claim that you couldn't fix your tire is not relevant here because your tire was fine, so you cannot create excuses that didn't exist. If you claim your vehicle was running on fumes and could run out, then that is what you tell the judge and hope for the best, XXXXX XXXXX you are doing here is commonly considered as "pursuing a hypothetical", meaning finding a "what if" solution. But courts do not care for "what if" solutions, they want to see what really took place, not what could have taken place. You haven't established in your facts that your life was in danger, if anything the judge will look at it and admonish you for failing to fill up the vehicle and possibly causing a blockage on the road if your vehicle would have run out of gas.

Good luck.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 38463
Experience: Multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation and administration.
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Dimitry K., Esq.
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Multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation and administration.