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Legal-Kal
Legal-Kal, Attorney
Category: Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 583
Experience:  Attorney at Law Offices of Khaled Issa
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I was cited to signal a lane change while operating a small

Customer Question

I was cited for failure to signal a lane change while operating a small moped (at 8mph). The moped is small enough it does not have turn signals so I use hand signals. I contend I did signal my intent to change lanes using proper hand signals prior to changing lanes.
The dash cam video shows the officer could not see me signaling because his view was obstructed for 23 seconds (at 8 mph) by a truck I was merging in front of. He could only see the end stage of my merge where I did not maintain a hand signal (which I believe is the proper and safe method). My reading of the law states I only need to signal before merging into the lane.
1) Is it correct that one needs only to signal before changing lanes or is there a requirement to maintain the signal throughout the whole lane change? Please provide citations.
2) Should I make a motion to dismiss based on this clear video evidence of their lack of evidence or go to jury?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Traffic Law
Expert:  Legal-Kal replied 1 year ago.

Hello:

My name is ***** ***** I would be happy to answer your legal question this evening. Before we begin, since the matter is set for jury trial, do you happen to know the exact charge you are facing? I only ask this because oftentimes when I speak to individuals, they inform me they are facing charge "x" but when they provide me the exact charge (specifically, the exact statute at issue) I learn that they are facing charge "y" instead. If you have the exact statute or code that is of issue, that will aid me in assisting you tonight. I am assuming you are accused of violating Section 545.104 of the Transportation Code.

Would I be correct on the section you are being charged with?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
In correspondence, the court states "Violation - Failed to signal intent to change lanes". I have not seen anything from them citing a trafic code. The citation does note have the code reference either - just "Failure to signal intent (left)"
Expert:  Legal-Kal replied 1 year ago.

I see. The charge does appear to be an alleged violation of 545.104 which states:

(a) An operator shall use the signal authorized by Section 545.106 (which authorizes hand signals) to indicate an intention to turn, change lanes, or start from a parked position.

(b) An operator intending to turn a vehicle right or left shall signal continuously for not less than the last 100 feet of movement of the vehicle before the turn.

(c) An operator may not light the signals on only one side of the vehicle on a parked or disabled vehicle or use the signals as a courtesy or "do pass" signal to the operator of another vehicle approaching from the rear.

I have attached a link to the Rules of the Road section of the Transportation Code here: http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/TN/htm/TN.545.htm

I have underlined the subsection that applies to you, which is subsection (a). Subsection is not applicable to your case because it applies to a "turn" and you were not "turning" for purposes of the law.

So, assuming that this indeed is the violation you have been charged with (and, based on my review of the entire Transportation Code, this is the only law you could have been charged with violating), I would agree with you that the plain language of the law does not require you to maintain any signal throughout the entire lane change.

As for a Motion to Dismiss, this would not be the proper course to take. This is because Motions to Dismiss are only used in criminal matters where there is a facial defect in a pleading (i.e., the official charging document, which in this case would most likely be the actual ticket you received from the officer, was faulty). As an aside, the State will always have the opportunity to "amend" (or fix any error present in) the ticket.

However, because what appears to be the issue here would be the facts as they apply to your circumstance under the law, there must be a trial (if you choose to fight the ticket). This is because when there is a factual dispute (i.e., when you started the signal, when it ended, where you were in the lane when you began/ended signaling), a judge or jury has to determine which person's side of the story is more credible (your story or the officer's). Just because there is no video evidence of the portion of the lane change that is of issue does not preclude a prosecution of the offense. This is because the officer will simply testify to what he observed. (As you can imagine, there are hundreds of crimes a day not recorded by video that still lead to convictions because the officer testifies to his observations).

Of course, if there is no video of the exact issue that is the subject of the violation, this is advantageous to you. This is because it is the State that bears the burden of proving you guilty of the offense. The judge or jury can use the video at a trial to make reasonable deductions of the events that occurred (even if the portion of the lane change is not recorded). For instance, if there is something on the video that contradicts the officer's testimony (regarding what occurred during the unobstructed portion of the video), the court or jury may be more likely to disregard the officer's entire testimony (including the portion of the testimony averring to what occurred during the brief obstruction).

Please let me know if you have any follow up questions. I would be more than happy to answer them. If you do not have any other questions, please remember to click "accept" and leave positive feedback so I may receive credit for my response. Thank you!

Expert:  Legal-Kal replied 1 year ago.

Good evening:

It has been a couple of days since the last post and I am wondering if you have any follow up questions? If not, please remember to click "ACCEPT" and leave positive feedback so I may receive credit for assisting you. Thanks!

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