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Stop Sign Violations: 46.2-821, 46.2-826, 46.2-830, 46.2-852, 46.2-863

When a driver rolls pass a stop sign or enters certain roads without stopping, a police officer has many options for writing tickets. These tickets can range from a simple traffic infraction to criminal charges. Here is a list of those infractions, there consequences, and some basic defenses. Make sure you consult with a local traffic attorney before going to court or prepaying any tickets.

46.2-821: Failure to Yield when Entering Certain Highways

When a person tries to enter a road past a stop sign, this law requires the drive to come to a stop prior to entering. If there is a clearly marked “stop line”, that is where the driver must stop. If there is not a stop line then the drive stops at the cross walk, if there is not a cross walk then the driver stops at the point nearest where they have approaching traffic. This law is unique because it dictates where a driver must stop. Violating this law is a traffic infraction punishable by up to $250 fine normally.

46.2-826: Stop Before Entering Public Highway or Sidewalk from the Private Road Ect.

If a driver is entering a public road from private property and there is not a traffic signal then the driver must stop before entering the public road. This law does not specifically state where they must stop. Violating this law is a traffic infraction punishable by up to $250 fine normally. Typically this applies to driver’s who pull out of parking lots onto roads without stopping.

46.2-830: Failure to Obey a Highway Sign

This law makes is a traffic infraction to disobey a sign posted by the Commonwealth Traffic Board if the sign is properly posted and sufficiently legible. This law does not apply to signs posted by other entities. If the sign you are accused of violating is covered, illegible, fallen, broken, or otherwise improperly posted, get a picture immediately and consult a traffic attorney.

46.2-852 Reckless Driving Generally

This is a criminal misdemeanor charge punishable by up to 12 months in jail, $2500 in fines and a 6 month loss of license. It applies to any driving behavior that demonstrates a disregard for the safety of people or property. This charge is frequently given when a stop sign violation is particularly egregious or when it result in an accident. Hire an attorney immediately.

46.2-863 Reckless Driving – Failure to Yield the Right of Way.

This is a criminal misdemeanor charge punishable by up to 12 months in jail, $2500 in fines and a 6 month loss of license. A driver violates this law if they enter a public road from a side road with no yield sign and they do not 1) stop immediately before entering or 2) if the pull out in front of an oncoming vehicle that is less than 500 feet away. This charge is most common after an accident or when a drive pulls in front of other cars and causes then brake or swerve.

Possible Defenses: (Talk to an local traffic attorney about these possible defenses)

1) In some cases (not 46.2-821) a driver does not need to stop again (e.g. next to the stop sign) if they originally came to a stop behind cars that were stopped at the stop sign and they could see whether the intersection was clear from where they stopped.

2) If the officer was not behind the Defendant, the officer may not have seen whether the Stop sign was properly posted and legible. From the other sides of the intersection the officer probably only saw an octangular sign but the officer could not tell whether it was defaced, legible, ect.

3) For a violation of 46.2-830, the government must prove that the sign was posted by the Commonwealth Transportation Board. If the sign was posted on a federal, county, city or town road this might not be the case.

4) If there was no Stop sign posted (46.2-826 & 46.2-863), the prosecution may be required to either prove that the car did not yield to traffic or that car never stopped where they had a clear view of the intersection even if that was slightly prior to arriving at the intersection. If the officer did not see the defendant until he or she entered the road they may not be able to prove the later.

5) For a violation of 46.2-862 the prosecution must prove that the Defendant was on private property listed in the statute before they entered the road.

6) For a violation of 46.2-852 the prosecution must prove that the driver disregarded safety, not just a failure to stop. The mere fact that an accident occurred is not enough, there must be some evidence of reckless driving behavior.

Luke J. Nichols



About Luke Nichols

Luke Nichols practices almost exclusively traffic law in Northern Virginia. His primary practice areas include reckless driving, speeding, DUI/DWI, refusal, hit-and-run, driving on a suspended license, and driving on a revoked license. Mr. Nichols has represented hundreds of Virginia drivers. You can also connect with Luke on Google+
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