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Failure to Yield in California – Vehicle Code 21950

Posted by Bulldog Law | Jul 05, 2024

Failure to Yield

According to California Vehicle Code 21950 CVC, drivers must yield to pedestrians crossing a roadway within a marked crosswalk or unmarked crosswalk.

When it comes to California's failure to yield laws, there are six essential points to know.

  • CVC 21950 requires drivers to yield to pedestrians, but it also imposes a duty on pedestrians to cross roadways with due care.
  • Violators accused of violating VC 21950 have legal defenses available, and they can hire an attorney to defend them against any charge(s).
  • Those who violate Vehicle Code 21950 will be fined $238.
  • Drivers who fail to yield will also receive one point on their DMV records. When you earn 4 points in 12 months, 6 points in 24 months, or 8 points in 36 months, you are at risk of a negligent operator license suspension.
  • Tickets for violations of Vehicle Code 21950 cannot be ignored. According to Vehicle Code 40508 VC, this act may result in a misdemeanor charge of failure to appear.
  • A pedestrian will likely sue a driver who violates this section and hits that pedestrian.

What Does Failure To Yield Mean in California?

"Failure to yield" refers to not giving the right of way to the right person at the right time. It is important to understand what the right of way is and who owns it to understand what that means.

The right of way differs slightly from county to county, depending on specific local laws and street markings. The following list may help you determine who has it and when:

  • A driver who is currently driving on the road
  • If there is a crosswalk (marked or unmarked), pedestrians should use it.
  • The first driver to arrive, then the second, etc.

Does Vehicle Code 21950 have any laws attached to it?

A total of three laws are related to VC 21950. These are:

  1. "Speeding laws" in California
  2. Making stops at stop signs
  3. The reckless driving law in California

Is There a Right Way to Yield at a Crossroads?

The proper way to yield at an intersection depends on the situation. Based on your timing and positioning related to pedestrians and other vehicles, you must determine what you need to do when you reach the intersection. 

Firstly, if you are already in the intersection when another vehicle arrives, you have the right of way. The other vehicle will have to wait until you leave the intersection or until your presence, there is no longer a hazard. If you arrive at the intersection after another vehicle has already started using it, you will have to wait. 

If another vehicle approaches the intersection at the same time as yours, look for any street signs. A driver without a stop sign has the right of way if they are on the same side of the road. The situation becomes more complicated if both of you have stop signs.

The vehicle turning left must yield the right of way if you are positioned across from each other. You would have to wait until the other driver completely clears the intersection before making your turn. It is possible to proceed at the same time if neither of you is turning left, provided that doing so would not pose a hazard to anyone. To be safe, you can signal the other driver to pass first if both of you are turning left.

The driver to your right goes first if you are positioned 90 degrees apart. You must wait until they finish using the intersection before proceeding. As mentioned previously, if four vehicles arrive at an intersection at the same time, you should follow the rules mentioned there.

Is there a legal defense if a motorist violates Vehicle Code 21950 VC?

If a motorist fails to yield to a pedestrian, there are legal defenses. Before raising any claim, though, the motorist should speak with an attorney.
What are the most common defenses for Vehicle Code 21950 VC?
When accused of violating Vehicle Code 21950, a driver may assert two defenses. These are:

  • In this case, the officer was mistaken in believing the driver had sufficiently yielded.
  • It was the pedestrian's fault.

In the latter case, a violation is challenged based on Vehicle Code 21950 (b). As mentioned in this section, pedestrians must exercise due care. In California, it's a solid legal defense for a motorist to argue that a pedestrian didn't exercise due care in accordance with VC 21950 (b).

What are the penalties given if I fail to yield to a pedestrian?

Violations of Vehicle Code 21950 VC will result in the following penalties:

  • There is a fine of $238.
  • The driver's DMV driving record will be assessed by one point.

The insurance company of a motorist is notified when points are assessed on their record, which results in a significant increase in an individual's insurance rates for several years. You can expect your premiums to rise by 21.3% on average after one conviction.
In addition to all other financial penalties, if you pay the average California auto insurance rate ($1,810), that's an extra $385.53 every year for three to seven years.
In California, the DMV can declare a driver negligent if he or she accumulates a certain number of points throughout one, two, or three years. If this occurs, the DMV may suspend or revoke that person's license. Both actions require a hearing with the California DMV.

Should I hire an attorney?

California drivers who fail to yield to pedestrians can represent themselves in court. It's recommended, however, that anyone charged with this violation hires an experienced attorney.
Below are three important reasons why you should hire an attorney. These are:

  1. Defendants with lawyers tend to get better deals from prosecutors.
  2. Defense attorneys know how to reduce and dismiss charges.
  3. The defendant does not have to show up to court if he has a defense lawyer.

As stated in this article, a failure to yield to a pedestrian violation can lead to serious consequences if you are convicted. The good news is that there are defenses available in many cases, and you should always consult with a criminal defense lawyer to see if your case might be one of them.

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