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Traffic Stop Warranted for No Right-Hand Turn Signal?

Author: Portner & Shure

Just last week, the Norfolk Circuit Court found that a driver's failure to use a turn signal in a dedicated right-hand turn lane did not give an officer a reason to stop her vehicle.

The issue at hand is whether the defendant was obligated to use her turn signal at an intersection under Virginia Code §46.2-848 which states that every driver who intends to turn or partly turn from a direct line whenever the operation of another vehicle may be affected by such movement, shall give the signals required of his intention to make such a movement. It was found that no other vehicle would have been affected by her movement, and thus, no signal was required.

One witness stated that the officer took advantage of the defendant's failure to signal as an opportunity to investigate her activities. Upon stopping the vehicle, the officer found marijuana inside of her vehicle. Because it was found that there was no reason for the stop, the marijuana found was suppressed.

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