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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 27236
Experience:  Lawyer. Former judicial law clerk. Worked for District Attorney's Office in Traffic Court.
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I was given a ticket to yield to a police car (emergency

Customer Question

I was given a ticket for failing to yield to a police car (emergency vehicle). I turned onto a major two lane roadway in Long Branch, NJ. I was going to a restaurant about four blocks away. There was no traffic either way. I saw the police car approach behind me rapidly with his flashers and siren on. I didn't think I had committed an infraction so I assumed he would pass me on the right. He did not. Again, there was no traffic. I didn't think it was wise to pull over to the right curb since I was on the left lane approaching a turn. He tailgated me so I assumed I would pull over and I went about a half block until I got to the left hand turning lane indention and I turned into the street the restaurant was on. I thought the police car would follow me in but instead he sped off. Again, there was no traffic. My wife was in front of me in another car. She couldn't believe what had happened. When I got out of the restaurant an hour or so later there was a ticket on my windshield. I couldn't figure out why.
If he was going to an emergency why wouldn't he pass me and if it was an emergency why would he copy down my license and hunt me down to place the ticket on my windshield. I didn't have time to make a decision to do anything differently and even now I don't know if I would. Should I fight this crazy ticket or accept the $85.00 dollar fine and two points?
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Traffic Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 5 months ago.
Hi, I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear that this happened. All drivers must yield to emergency vehicles, even if it is inconvenient to do so, or even if the emergency vehicle has the ability to pass in another lane. The only defense, unfortunately, is if the police car didn't have emergency lights flashing, which you said that he did. It's not a defense that you didn't think you committed an infraction, because (a) you could be mistaken and (b) the law says you have to move out of the way. It's a strict liability offense, meaning that your state of mind isn't legally relevant. At trial, the judge would only ask the officer if his lights were on, and if you moved out of the way. It's also not a defense that he should have passed you, or that he shouldn't have taken the time to ticket you - the judge would probably agree that police officers shouldn't have to take time out of responding to an emergency to ticket someone for not yielding, but that doesn't help your case. There are a lot of reasons. Maybe another police car beat him to the scene. Maybe the emergency was resolved before he got there. Maybe the officer radioed for another police car to find and ticket you. But none of those reasons would mean the ticket isn't valid. If you go to trial with the same facts you've given me, I'm sorry to say, the judge will still find you guilty. You do have the option of trying to negotiate with the district attorney to reduce the charge to something with a lower penalty or no points. If you have an otherwise clean driving record, that may be something they're willing to do for you. Read the information that came with the ticket to see if they let you make that request by mail. Some courthouses do. For the ones that don't, you can go to the courthouse on the date listed on the ticket and ask if there's someone you can negotiate with. Another option is to pay the ticket, wait for the points to appear on your driving record, and then take a defensive driving course to have them removed. You cannot take the course before paying the ticket. The course removes 2 points from your record, as long as the points were assessed before you take the class. If you have any questions or concerns about my response, please reply WITHOUT RATING. It's important that you are 100% satisfied with my courtesy and professionalism. Otherwise, please rate my service positively so I am paid for the time I spend answering questions. If you are on a mobile device, you may need to scroll to the right. There is no charge for follow-up questions. Thank you.
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 5 months ago.
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