Drunk Driving Arrest In Los Angeles After A Traffic Law Violation on Private Parking Lot

May 15, 2014

Some parking lots have sign limiting speed or regulating “stop and go” of traffic (such as “stop signs” or “no turning” sign or “one way” signs).  If a driver violates a such sign posted on a private property, an a police officer observes it, can a driver be stopped and investigated for such violation?

California Vehicle Code speeding sections (such as CVC 22350) apply the law of speeding to “highways”.   Highways are defined in CVC 360 as, “…a  way or place of whatever nature, publicly maintained and open to the use of the public for purpose of vehicular travel.  Highway includes street.”   Street is defined as ” a way or place of whatever nature, publicly maintained and open to the use of the public for purpose of vehicular travel.  Street includes highway.”  Neither definition covers private parking lot; however, CVC 21107.8 allows adoption of some traffic laws on private parking lots as long as owner of the lot puts up signs and goes through a public hearing prior to it.   Without the hearing and adoption by municipalities, private parking lots would not have any speed limit because they are not highways, to wit, they are not publicly maintained.

How stop signs on private property can become important in a DUI case in Los Angeles?  Simply.  If a police officer observers what he believes is speeding on a private parking lot (such as a mall parking lot), he can pull a driver over and start a DUI investigation.  People v. Reyes (June 17, 2011) 196 Cal.App.4th 856, explain that when an officer is wrong about the law, the stop becomes illegal.  In People v. Reyes, officer observed a car with one Florida license plate in the back and pulled the driver over to cite for the license plate violation.  Investigation ensued and Mr. Reyes was arrested for transportation of drugs and other charges.  The court overturned the conviction because Florida requires only one license plate and officer not knowing is not an excuse for a stop.  The court noticed that if that would be the case, police would be encouraged to be ignorant of the law.

If you are arrested for a DUI on similar facts, you would need help of a skilled drunk driving attorney who is well known in Los Angeles DUI courtrooms.  Call our office for a free consultation about a your Drunk Driving case in Los Angeles.  Our practice is focused on Drunk Driving in Los Angeles and a majority of our cases come from Department 60 of the Metropolitan Courthouse located at 1945 S. Hill Street in Los Angeles.  We also handle traffic warrants (Failures to Appear (FTA) in Metropolitan Courthouse).  Our direct number is (323) 464-6424.

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