Most states have implemented a “move over” law to ensure the safety of emergency personnel and officers during traffic stops, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Although the specifics of these laws may differ across states, they all require drivers to take specific actions when encountering a stationary vehicle on the side of the road with activated lights. These laws may apply to various vehicles, including emergency vehicles, towing vehicles, and road maintenance vehicles with flashing lights.
The obligations for drivers vary depending on the state. Generally, drivers must:
- Reduce Speed: Slow down significantly or maintain a safe speed.
- Give Space: If feasible, provide a wide berth for the stationary vehicle or switch lanes.
- Pass Safely: Wait until you have completely passed the stopped vehicle before resuming normal travel.
Failure to adhere to these requirements can result in being pulled over and issued a ticket for violating the move over law. Although such tickets may appear difficult to contest, there are potential avenues for challenging them.
Move Over Violations: Tackled Aggressively
Few traffic offenses receive as vigorous prosecution as move over violations. Prosecuting attorneys and law enforcement officers argue that disregarding the need to slow down and give way to emergency vehicles endangers the safety of first responders. Pressure from both law enforcement and the public often prevents lenience towards violators of move over laws.
Possible Defenses Against Move Over Tickets
Receiving a move over violation ticket does not automatically imply guilt. A ticket merely presents an allegation of wrongdoing, and it is the responsibility of the prosecuting attorney to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your case, this can prove challenging for the prosecutor.
Potential defenses that might be available to you include:
1. Lack of Officer’s Car Camera Footage
While the prosecuting attorney may not require footage from the officer’s vehicle to build their case, possessing such evidence works in their favor. Without it, the court can only determine guilt based on the officer’s testimony versus any evidence or testimony presented by the defendant.
2. Inactive Emergency Lights on the Vehicle
Many move over laws only apply if the emergency vehicle had its emergency lights activated and functioning at the time of the alleged violation. If the lights were not activated due to either the officer’s negligence or a malfunction, you can argue that you did not violate the law.
3. Unsafe Conditions Preventing Compliance
If traffic or road conditions made it unsafe for you to reduce your speed or move over, the court may excuse your violation. In such cases, the court or prosecutor might offer a more reasonable resolution for your case.
For instance, if another driver closely tailgated your vehicle, it might not be safe for you to slow down as required by your state’s law. This situation could lead the court or prosecutor to dismiss your ticket or reduce the charges.
Asserting a Defense in Your Move Over Case
If you believe you have a valid defense against your move over ticket, it’s crucial to raise and present it correctly in court. Failure to follow the proper procedures could result in the court disregarding your side of the story when making its ruling.
Consider consulting with a lawyer if you are unsure about the best way to present your defense. To maximize your chances of success:
- Do not pay the ticket immediately if you plan to challenge it.
- Appear in court on the specified date and time indicated on your ticket.
- In some instances, merely conveying your side of the story to the judge during the court appearance might lead to a dismissal of your ticket.
If you believe you have a compelling defense, you may need to request that the court schedules your case for trial. This will give you an opportunity to present your case, along with any supporting evidence or testimony you possess.
Get Expert Legal Assistance for Your Move Over Case
If you find yourself facing a move over violation ticket, Garrity Traina is ready to assist you. We can connect you with a highly skilled and qualified traffic attorney in your state who will carefully review your case and discuss your legal options. Contact us at Garrity Traina or call us at 1-888-296-3059 for prompt and reliable assistance.