Vehicle Code 21650 CVC - Right Hand Lane Violation

Have you received a Vehicle Code 21650 CVC citation in the mail recently and are curious what you should know about it? You’re not alone, and it just so happens that you’re in just the right spot. Below, we’ll cover all of the most important details you’ll want to know, including topics like:

What is Vehicle Code 21650 CVC?

The best place to start with understanding just what you’re dealing with is with the legal definition as noted in the California legislature! This reads: “upon all highways, a vehicle shall be driven upon the right half of the roadway, except as follows: (a) When overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction…, (b)When placing a vehicle in a lawful position for…a left turn, (c) When the right half of a roadway is closed to traffic under construction or repair, (d) Upon a roadway restricted to one-way traffic, (e) When the roadway is not of sufficient width…”

In simple terms, Vehicle Code 21650 CVC applies when you fail to drive to the right of the road, as directed. There are exceptions listed above which include passing someone, moving into the left turning lane, changing lanes due to a lane closure, driving down a one-way street, or if the road is not wide enough to drive safely on the right.

What does it mean to have violated Vehicle Code 21650 CVC?

That’s all well and good, and pretty simple! However, you will want to be aware of the various ways that this can apply since many aren’t aware of how simple it is to accidentally violate Vehicle Code 21650 CVC. Our imaginary California driver, Henry, will help us out in a few imaginary scenarios.

Henry is driving to his mother’s house and is in a hurry. He decides to “save time” by switching over into the left lane of traffic even though there is no one ahead of him that he needs to pass/overtake. In this case, he could receive a Vehicle Code 21650 CVC violation because he is driving in the left lane for no reason rather than staying in the right-hand lane until he needs to pass a car.

In another example, Henry is having fun driving with this friend and loves the idea of just changing lanes on a 3-lane roadway. He swerves around from lane to lane and then back to the right-hand lane again. Even though Henry ends back in the right-hand lane, he is guilty of a Vehicle Code 21650 CVC violation because he’s randomly changing lanes with no reason to do so. This applies when the road is empty or full!

There are some exceptions to this, of course. Let’s say that Henry is on a one-way street when he is driving to his mother’s house. On one-way streets, drives are allowed to remain in left lanes for longer, though it’s still not recommended to stay in the left lane if there are other cars queuing behind you to get past.

In the second example, an exception would be if Henry lost control of the vehicle for whatever reason. Swerving from one lane to another is, of course, never a good thing. However, if he is not intentionally doing so, he’d be innocent of a Vehicle Code 21650 CVC violation.

Thirdly, Henry would be innocent if he saw that there was some sort of construction zone or obstruction in the right-hand lane ahead of him. Whether there are other cars doing the same thing or not, he is legally permitted to change to the left lane and stay there if there is an obstruction ahead of him — as long as it is safe to do so.

The last exception to this would be if there was some sort of emergency; either the police are directing Henry to move over, or he is trying to avoid a collision. Both of these things would allow him to change lanes because it is the only thing that would stop him from worsening an emergency situation or directly disobeying a peace officer.

What can I do about this violation?

When you break this law (considered an infraction) and receive a citation, it carries a fine of $230+ and court fees. You will need to pay this if you are found guilty of the violation. You will also receive 1 DMV point on your record.

This point can be masked by attending traffic school. You will know whether this is an option for you if it is listed on your citation letter. If you do wish to attend traffic school, you will need to pay the court, and then you can immediately get started on your re-education.

If you are guilty of this violation, the best thing to do is to plead as such in court, pay your fine, and accept the point. If you’re innocent, however, or you qualify for one of the exceptions listed above, you can plead your case with the help of an attorney.

Other possible Vehicle Code violation connections

There are other offenses that are often attached to a profile when this particular violation comes up. Some of the most common ones include:

  • Vehicle Code 21755 CVC: This citation applies when a driver passes illegally and with no regard to safety on the right.
  • Vehicle Code 21654 CVC: This violation implies that you are driving too slowly and you aren’t in the right-hand lane.

Both of these violations can be added to the Vehicle Code 21650 CVC violation that you’ve received, or perhaps it’ll be just one of them added. Some may even use one or both of these in place of the Vehicle Code 21650 CVC violation if they feel that they are a better fit for the violation that caused the citation. It depends on the peace officer and their professional opinion, as well as the court issuing you the ticket!

Is this ticket eligible for traffic school?

As mentioned above, the citation notice that you receive in the mail will let you know whether or not you are eligible to attend traffic school in order to mask the point addition from your DMV record. Eligibility includes, amongst other things, receiving a moving citation. This is when the ticket that is being issued to you is focused on improper driving techniques. The idea is that a traffic school will help you to learn from your mistakes so that you can learn how to be a safer driver in the future.

All of that is to say that you’ll be relieved to learn that yes, a Vehicle Code 21650 CVC violation is eligible for traffic school as long as you choose an accredited traffic school such as MM TRAFFIC SCHOOL. Exceptions include those who have received a major point citation, have already attended traffic school in the past 18 months or committed the offense in a commercial vehicle.

Attending traffic school is a really great idea when you take a look at the concept of what it can give you. You’ll have immersive and entertaining education that is all about helping you to understand the proper techniques associated with driving. Attending traffic school is going to be fun and useful at the same time.

Why? Because we at MM TRAFFIC SCHOOL know that you don’t really actually want to be here. That is, we do what we can to make sure that it’s as entertaining and funny as possible. Not only does this help pass the time and help you to see that traffic education doesn’t have to be torture, but it also will make it much more memorable too. This means that you’ll be less likely to forget those important traffic rules and regulations in the future!

The other main perk to considering traffic school is that it can offer you support in keeping your insurance premiums low, and it’ll be just what you need when you are looking for doing everything you can to keep your DMV record clean in case someone such as a peace officer were to look it up in the future. There’s no downside to attending MM TRAFFIC SCHOOL, and plenty of positives waiting for you!

Want to know more or learn more about the Vehicle Code 21650 CVC violation? If so, please feel free to contact us, and we’ll be happy to fill you in! For a more personalized approach to your file, you can also contact the court that issued your ticket!

How can I avoid a citation for a Vehicle Code 21650 CVC violation?

The best thing you can do for yourself is to learn how to preventatively avoid getting a Vehicle Code 21650 CVC violation in the mail! This is a pretty basic ticket which means that avoiding it is going to be as blissfully simple as remembering the importance of what you learned when getting your license in the first place.

You are obligated to drive in a right-hand lane as often as possible in order to keep the regular and legal flow of traffic moving. While there will be situations where you can’t help moving over (such as to pass or moving into the left lane to complete a (legal) left turn), the goal is to stay right as often as possible. Don’t just move into the left lane because it looks better, or you think it’ll get you to where you need to go faster. Stay right as much as possible. Remember: Moving over to the left lane of traffic is permitted if the right-hand lane is blocked or you are moving over for a legitimate reason. In these cases, a Vehicle Code 21650 CVC violation wouldn’t apply!



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