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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 27637
Experience:  Lawyer. Former judicial law clerk. Worked for District Attorney's Office in Traffic Court.
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I was just given a citation .636, Improper Passing which the

Customer Question

Customer: My name is***** was just given a citation for 257.636, Improper Passing which the officer could not clearly explain to me and when I looked it up I dont think I should have received this ticket... so I'm just trying to understand when it is and isn't applicable
JA: Thanks. Can you give me any more details about your issue?
Customer: Sure: I was going home, on my street (its a dead end circle at the end my house is the last on the left), the car in front of me slows to almost a halt turning to the right as if to turn into a driveway, drives past and is still to the right at this point I am waiting but unsure what the driver is trying to do. Then I pass to the left (no passing lane on this street) and as I am clearing the car I hear a thud on my right rear. I come out to inspect the driver has hit my right rear door and scratched my bumper. She claims she was turning to the left but it was very unclear to me regarding that. The officer who comes to the scene hears her side of the story along with damage, is barely interested to hear mine, and then with all the details of both drivers goes into his car to file the report. He comes back out with a ticket in hand for me, cannot clearly explain the rule I was thought to be breaking and had not even inspected the damage on my car before handing me the ticket
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Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Traffic Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 11 months ago.

Hi Arun,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear that this happened.

That statute actually only applies to a situation where there are two or more clearly marked lanes on the road, so it sounds like it's not the right statute for your situation. I believe that the section the officer was thinking of was this" "A vehicle shall be driven as nearly as practicable entirely within a single lane and shall not be moved from the lane until the operator has first ascertained that the movement can be made with safety." However, that's the wrong statute if your road isn't divided into lanes.

With that said, if you go to court and the statute number is ***** the judge can amend the citation to the correct statute, which would be 257.636. That statute talks about driving past the other vehicle safely and then returning to the right-hand lane. If the car in front of you wasn't signalling for a left turn, then you can argue that you did not violate the statute - you had no way of knowing what she was about to do and therefore, based on the information you had when you went to pass her, your actions were not unsafe.

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