Vehicle Code 21460 is the California statute that makes it a crime for a motorist to cross double yellow parallel lines on State roadways. Double parallel lines include:
- double parallel solid yellow or white lines, and
- double parallel lines, one of which is broken.
A few exceptions do apply under the statute.
In particular, the code section reads:
(a) If double parallel solid yellow lines are in place, a person driving a vehicle shall not drive to the left of the lines, except as permitted in this section.
(b) If double parallel solid white lines are in place, a person driving a vehicle shall not cross any part of those double solid white lines, except as permitted in this section or Section 21655.8.
(c) If the double parallel lines, one of which is broken, are in place, a person driving a vehicle shall not drive to the left of the lines, except as follows:
(1) If the driver is on the side of the roadway in which the broken line is in place, the driver may cross over the double lines or drive to the left of the double lines when overtaking or passing other vehicles.
Examples of illegal acts under VC 21460 include:
- Monique is driving and crosses a double parallel solid yellow line to pass another vehicle.
- Albert drives his car across a double parallel solid white line while joyriding, illegal per VC 10851.
- Pablo crosses a double parallel solid yellow line in order to pass a school bus that is stopped to pick up children.
Luckily, there are several legal defenses that a person can raise if accused of violating Vehicle Code 21460. These include showing that:
- an exemption applied,
- there was an emergency, and
- there was no probable cause to stop or arrest the driver.
Two consequences can occur if a person violates VC 21460. The first is that he may get one point assessed on his DMV driving record. A driver could potentially get a negligent operator license suspension if he receives a certain number of points in a given time period (e.g., 4 points in 12 months, 6 points in 24 months or 8 points in 36 months).
Our California criminal defense and personal injury attorneys will highlight the following in this article:
- 1. What is the legal definition of crossing double parallel lines?
- 2. Are there legal defenses to VC 21460 violations?
- 3. Penalties, punishment, and sentencing
- 4. Related laws
1. What is the legal definition of crossing double parallel lines?
Vehicle Code 21460 is the California statute that provides rules regarding driving on State roadways with parallel lines. Per this statute, motorists cannot drive to the left of:
- double parallel solid yellow or white lines, or
- double parallel lines, one of which is broken, unless to pass another car.1
As to double parallel solid or white lines, note that a driver can cross them if:
- turning left at an intersection,
- turning out of a driveway or private road, or
- making a U-turn.2
2. Legal Defenses
A person can try to challenge a VC 21460 accusation by raising a legal defense. A legal defense may work to reduce or dismiss a charge.
Three common defenses to Vehicle Code 21460 charges include:
- an exception;
- an emergency; and/or,
- no probable cause.
Please recall that there are a few exceptions to the general rule prohibiting a driver from crossing a double parallel line (e.g., he may do so in order to turn left at an intersection). This means it is always a defense for an accused to show that his actions met a valid exception.
It is a valid legal defense for a defendant to show that he had to cross a double line because of an emergency. For example, maybe he had to in order to let an ambulance pass him.
2.3. No probable cause
The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says that police must have probable cause before they can detain or arrest a suspect of a crime.
If a person was stopped or arrested for violating VC 21460, and there was no probable cause, then any evidence obtained following the improper stop/arrest could get excluded from the case. This exclusion could result in the dismissal or reduction in charges.
3. Penalties, punishment, and sentencing
Two things can happen if a person violates VC 21460. The first is that he may get one point assessed on his DMV driving record. A driver could potentially get a negligent operator license suspension if he receives a certain number of points in a given time period (e.g., 4 points in 12 months, 6 points in 24 months or 8 points in 36 months).
The second is that the person may get charged with an infraction and that person must, resultingly, pay a fine of $234.00.3
4. Related offenses
There are three laws related to crossing parallel lines in California. These are:
- signaling before turning or changing lanes – VC 22108,
- sudden stopping without signaling – VC 22109, and
- proper hand signals required – VC 22111.
4.1. Signaling before turning or changing lanes – VC 22108
Drivers that violate this code section will receive:
- a fine of $238; and,
- one point assessed to their DMV driving record.
4.2. Sudden stopping without signaling – VC 22109
California Vehicle Code 22109 CVC states that no person shall stop or suddenly decrease the speed of a vehicle without first giving an appropriate signal – via his hand, arm, a signal lamp, or a mechanical device.5
A driver that violates VC 22109 will receive:
- a fine of $238.00 and,
- one point assessed to his DMV driving record.
4.3. Proper hand signals required – VC 22111
Vehicle Code 22111 provides rules for how drivers must signal with their hands when turning left or right and stopping.
A driver that does not signal in compliance with VC 22111 receives two penalties. These include:
- a fine of $238.00
- one point assessed to his DMV driving record.
- California Vehicle Code 21460 VC.
- See same.
- See dmv.ca.gov
- Vehicle Code 22108 VC.
- Vehicle Code 22109 VC.