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Ran stop sign in parking lot, ticketed Tennessee

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  • Ran stop sign in parking lot, ticketed Tennessee

    There is a small mall in my town located in Tennessee. The building is square and surrounded by a private parking lot. There is a set of doors on each side. Well, one set of doors has stop signs outside them at the side walk. Kinda like you see at Walmart.

    Anyways, I went through the stop sign and didn't stop. A city cop was standing out there and jumped in his cop car and pulled me over and gave me a ticket for running a stop sign.

    Question, is this a legit ticket? It is my understanding that the government can't enforce signs that are on private property. Though, I'm not sure.

  • #2
    I would think, if he gave you one, he can.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by turbowray View Post
      I would think, if he gave you one, he can.
      Oh yeah, a cop can give me a ticket for anything he wants to. That doesn't mean the ticketed offense is real or just.

      Tennessee state law states that you have to stop at stop signs located at crosswalks and intersections. See, it's talking about public roads. I haven't seen any mention of having to obey stop signs located on private property, in parking lots, on top of houses, in the middle of private driveways, etc.

      Traffic signs are regulated by the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways (MUTCD). That manual states that stop signs are to be used to identify who has the right-of-way at an intersection, NOT to be used as a speed control device.

      One, there is no intersection as there is no road, it is a parking lot. And I have read that signs installed on private property are not covered by the MUTCD. Though, the MUTCD encourages states to incorporate into their own subsection rules requiring private property owners that are open to the public to have any signs posted conform to MUTCD, but doesn't mention allowing the government to enforce them. This makes sense, as if I owned a business, what good would it be if I put in 100 stop signs in my parking lot and let cops ticket people all day long who ran them??

      If anything, it should be a yield sign. It looks to me that this stop sign is an unwarranted stop sign, meaning that it doesn't comply with the MUTCD.

      Though, my state has it's own subsection of the manual, and I haven't been able to find a copy online.

      I do plan on finding out who put the stop sign in. I did read in my state law the there has to be a permanent marking on the back of stop signs as to who put it in. This is regarding public stop signs. So, I'll see if this stop sign has any markings on the back. I doubt the city put this stop sign in.

      There are diagonal lines running into the road in-between the two stop signs that are right outside the doors. The cop could try and argue it is a crosswalk. Which it really isn't as a crosswalk. But the diagonal lines are yellow and the MUTCD states that crosswalk lines have to be white. So, that would be easy to prove.

      You see, more than meets the eye.

      Comment


      • #4
        A crosswalk is also defined as an intersection in the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD).

        The question is whether the law in your state (and in that county and town) defines parking lots to be enforceable. Usually they are not, but recently the violation of fire lanes by parking vehicles caused a lot of towns to legislate traffic control claims over parking lots open to the public.

        It is also amazing how many policemen do not know the law. I asked 4 different policemen in my town where people on roller skates and skateboards are supposed to be in traffic. I got the following 4 answers:

        - Skates are toys, not transportation. It's illegal to play in either the sidewalk or the street.
        - Skaters are pedestrians, and belong on the sidewalk.
        - Skaters are like bicycle riders, and must follow vehicle rules.
        - Skaters belong on sidewalks, but must yield to all other traffic and stop at intersections. Skateboards are prohibited downtown and in the parks. And all skating is prohibited on the college campus. (this guy knew the law).

        My brother was once arrested for violating a law which had expired (sunset porovision). They couldn't charge him because the law wasn't on the books anymore.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Troubleshooter View Post
          A crosswalk is also defined as an intersection in the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD).

          The question is whether the law in your state (and in that county and town) defines parking lots to be enforceable. Usually they are not, but recently the violation of fire lanes by parking vehicles caused a lot of towns to legislate traffic control claims over parking lots open to the public.

          It is also amazing how many policemen do not know the law. I asked 4 different policemen in my town where people on roller skates and skateboards are supposed to be in traffic. I got the following 4 answers:

          - Skates are toys, not transportation. It's illegal to play in either the sidewalk or the street.
          - Skaters are pedestrians, and belong on the sidewalk.
          - Skaters are like bicycle riders, and must follow vehicle rules.
          - Skaters belong on sidewalks, but must yield to all other traffic and stop at intersections. Skateboards are prohibited downtown and in the parks. And all skating is prohibited on the college campus. (this guy knew the law).

          My brother was once arrested for violating a law which had expired (sunset porovision). They couldn't charge him because the law wasn't on the books anymore.
          Yeah, I don't think I should have been ticketed. Not only was it in a parking lot, but there was no intersection. There are three other sets of doors on the other ends of the building that don't have stop signs. I'm thinking the property owners personally put these up to control speed as it seems people cross through there to get to the road at the other side of the parking lot. That is what I do.

          I read through the state law and city law, and I didn't see anything about giving police the authority to enforce traffic signs on private property.

          When I was getting ticketed, I told the cop that it was a parking lot and not a road. He told me, "Yeah, but it's in the city."

          I think what I'll do is find out who put the stop sign in. If the owner put it in, then that would be easier for me to prove the city doens't have jurisdiction over the sign. Also, because the stop sign is unwarranted.

          If the city did put the stop sign, I'll have to find out why they put the stop sign in. But I doubt the did as I've read alot of citys don't put stop signs in private property.

          One thing I'll ask the cop in court is, "What law gives the city the authority to enforce traffic signs on private parking lots?" I doubt he'll know anything.

          Remember, the cop has to prove what I did was illegal, I don't have to prove innocence.

          Comment


          • #6
            This is a hard one, because when you are on private property that is being worked on, and the flagger has a hand held stop sign, it is just as legally binding as a stop sign in the ground somewhere, and the fines are heavy if you dissobey a flaggers stop sign. I would just ask the judge in court, if the cop was within his jurisdiction to ticket you for the stop sign. Think of it this way, if there is a no tresspassing sign on private property, and you go in, they have the right to ticket you for tresspassing, I don't see where this is any different? When you park in a handicapped zone, they ticket you, even though the parking space is located on private property, so they may have more rights than we are aware of. I would hope that the officer on this site, will come around and answer this for you.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by turbowray View Post
              This is a hard one, because when you are on private property that is being worked on, and the flagger has a hand held stop sign, it is just as legally binding as a stop sign in the ground somewhere, and the fines are heavy if you dissobey a flaggers stop sign. I would just ask the judge in court, if the cop was within his jurisdiction to ticket you for the stop sign. Think of it this way, if there is a no tresspassing sign on private property, and you go in, they have the right to ticket you for tresspassing, I don't see where this is any different? When you park in a handicapped zone, they ticket you, even though the parking space is located on private property, so they may have more rights than we are aware of. I would hope that the officer on this site, will come around and answer this for you.
              How do you know a flagger who is holding a hand held stop sign on private property is just a legally binding as a stop sign in the ground?

              I won't be asking the judge anything, that's not the way it works. It would be dumb if I tried to get legal advice from a judge in the middle of trial. If the cop doesn't prove that what I did was illegal, then I'll motion the court to dismiss the charge with prejudice. The judge makes his opinion based on the facts. The prosecution has to prove I did what I did and that it violated a law.

              There is a law for tresspassing, and tresspassing isn't a traffic sign. There is a law for handicapped zones which doesn't deal with moving violations, but parking violations. I haven't seen a law for stop signs on private property. Just because you can get a ticket for one thing doesn't necessarily mean that you can get a ticket for something else.

              Besides, the stop sign doesn't comply with the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) as it is not being used at an intersection to allow motorists to know who has the right of way, but more of a speed control device. It is unlawful to use a stop sign as a speed control because it goes against the MUTCD, and my state has adopted the MUTCD into law which states how and where traffic signs/signals etc. can be posted.

              What if the property owner decided to put in 100 stop signs in the parking lot, and cops sat there all day writing tickets to people for running over 50 stop signs at a time?

              What if I put a stop sign at the middle of my drive way, can a cop ticket me for running it? I don't think so.

              Here's the TN law:

              55-8-149. Requirements for stop signs - Vehicles and streetcars must stop at stop signs - Penalty.

              (a) Every stop sign shall bear the word "Stop" in letters not less than eight inches (8") in height and such sign shall at nighttime be rendered luminous by steady or flashing internal illumination, or by a fixed floodlight projected on the face of the sign, or by efficient reflecting elements on the face of the sign.

              (b) Every stop sign shall be erected as near as practicable to the nearest line of the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection or, if there is no crosswalk, then as close as practicable to the nearest line of the roadway.

              (c) Every driver of a vehicle and every operator of a streetcar approaching a stop sign shall stop before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection, or in the event there is no crosswalk, shall stop at a clearly marked stop line, but if none, then at the point nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver or operator has a view of approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway before entering the intersection, except when directed to proceed by a police officer or traffic control signal.

              (d) A violation of this section is a Class C misdemeanor.


              I guess since this stop sign was not located at a crosswalk or intersection, then I did not violate this rule. Besides, you see it is mentioning "roadway". A parking lot is not a roadway.

              There's more to it as traffic signs must comply with MUTCD. Tennessee state law says if a sign does not comply with MUTCD, then it is unlawfully posted. But again, like the TN law above, it is written for public roads, not private property. A private property owner can put a stop sign where ever they want to, that doesn't mean it is being posted where it should be if you were to apply public law to the private sector.

              I guess I'll first have to find out who put the sign in. If the private owner went out and put it in, I don't see how the city can claim enforcement rights on it. I've seen some cities mention that they don't put traffic signs on private property.

              Though, if the city did put it in, that doesn't necessarily give the city enforcement rights on it. Though, it would help if the property owner put it in, but my real defense is that the sign doesn't comply with MUTCD. Plus, I doubt the cop will be able to prove the city can enforce stop signs that are on private property.

              In court, first I'll lay down foundationary evidence by showing that the stop sign was placed in a privately owned parking lot, and that the stop sign was not placed at a crosswalk or intersection. I lay this down by asking the cop questions. Then I'll ask "What law gives the city the right to enforce traffic signs on private property?" I doubt he'll be able to answer this and be able to prove the city can enforce traffic signs on private property. I'll then do other stuff by explaining that there is no law that says I have to obey traffic signs on private property, and even if the cop has jurisdiction over the sign, it is not in compliant with the MUTCD. It would help too if the property owner was the one who put the sign in.
              Last edited by jasonsmith; 11-11-2006, 10:18 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by jasonsmith View Post
                How do you know a flagger who is holding a hand held stop sign on private property is just a legally binding as a stop sign in the ground?

                I won't be asking the judge anything, that's not the way it works. It would be dumb if I tried to get legal advice from a judge in the middle of trial. If the cop doesn't prove that what I did was illegal, then I'll motion the court to dismiss the charge with prejudice. The judge makes his opinion based on the facts. The prosecution has to prove I did what I did and that it violated a law.

                There is a law for tresspassing, and tresspassing isn't a traffic sign. There is a law for handicapped zones which doesn't deal with moving violations, but parking violations. I haven't seen a law for stop signs on private property. Just because you can get a ticket for one thing doesn't necessarily mean that you can get a ticket for something else.

                Besides, the stop sign doesn't comply with the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) as it is not being used at an intersection to allow motorists to know who has the right of way, but more of a speed control device. It is unlawful to use a stop sign as a speed control because it goes against the MUTCD, and my state has adopted the MUTCD into law which states how and where traffic signs/signals etc. can be posted.

                What if the property owner decided to put in 100 stop signs in the parking lot, and cops sat there all day writing tickets to people for running over 50 stop signs at a time?

                What if I put a stop sign at the middle of my drive way, can a cop ticket me for running it? I don't think so.

                Here's the TN law:

                55-8-149. Requirements for stop signs - Vehicles and streetcars must stop at stop signs - Penalty.

                (a) Every stop sign shall bear the word "Stop" in letters not less than eight inches (8") in height and such sign shall at nighttime be rendered luminous by steady or flashing internal illumination, or by a fixed floodlight projected on the face of the sign, or by efficient reflecting elements on the face of the sign.

                (b) Every stop sign shall be erected as near as practicable to the nearest line of the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection or, if there is no crosswalk, then as close as practicable to the nearest line of the roadway.

                (c) Every driver of a vehicle and every operator of a streetcar approaching a stop sign shall stop before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection, or in the event there is no crosswalk, shall stop at a clearly marked stop line, but if none, then at the point nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver or operator has a view of approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway before entering the intersection, except when directed to proceed by a police officer or traffic control signal.

                (d) A violation of this section is a Class C misdemeanor.


                I guess since this stop sign was not located at a crosswalk or intersection, then I did not violate this rule. Besides, you see it is mentioning "roadway". A parking lot is not a roadway.

                There's more to it as traffic signs must comply with MUTCD. Tennessee state law says if a sign does not comply with MUTCD, then it is unlawfully posted. But again, like the TN law above, it is written for public roads, not private property. A private property owner can put a stop sign where ever they want to, that doesn't mean it is being posted where it should be if you were to apply public law to the private sector.

                I guess I'll first have to find out who put the sign in. If the private owner went out and put it in, I don't see how the city can claim enforcement rights on it. I've seen some cities mention that they don't put traffic signs on private property.

                Though, if the city did put it in, that doesn't necessarily give the city enforcement rights on it. Though, it would help if the property owner put it in, but my real defense is that the sign doesn't comply with MUTCD. Plus, I doubt the cop will be able to prove the city can enforce stop signs that are on private property.

                In court, first I'll lay down foundationary evidence by showing that the stop sign was placed in a privately owned parking lot, and that the stop sign was not placed at a crosswalk or intersection. I lay this down by asking the cop questions. Then I'll ask "What law gives the city the right to enforce traffic signs on private property?" I doubt he'll be able to answer this and be able to prove the city can enforce traffic signs on private property. I'll then do other stuff by explaining that there is no law that says I have to obey traffic signs on private property, and even if the cop has jurisdiction over the sign, it is not in compliant with the MUTCD. It would help too if the property owner was the one who put the sign in.
                First off, you asked how an officer could write a ticket for something that happened on private property, I explained the way I did to show that other tickets can be written, even though it happened on private property. Second off, I am a liscensed flagger, and I know that my sign is legal, even though not in the ground. You can argue, and even maybe win, I was only trying to give information based on experience. Here is a site that went over these questions. One gentleman said, that if the owner of the private property gave permission for the officers to issue tickets, then they could. One asked a serious question, and said "If you hit someone on private property, would this mean that no ticket could be given because it happened on private property? All in all, I am not an officer, so I do not know, but this page gives some insite. Please, don't get so defensive if someone tries to give you advise here just because it is not what you want to hear.

                Comment


                • #9
                  http://groups.google.com/group/misc....696536d0f6ceee
                  Last edited by turbowray; 11-12-2006, 02:18 AM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Here is a better site, ran by officers, and answered by officers, there is an answer by a TN officer. Here is the link, and this covers your question.

                    http://forums.officer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=54163

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I also live in Tennessee, it's people like this that make it difficult to cross in front of the stores and everywhere else! Most cities in TN DO enforce private property signs. Instead of looking at the State laws, check your local ordinances.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by demartian View Post
                        I also live in Tennessee, it's people like this that make it difficult to cross in front of the stores and everywhere else! Most cities in TN DO enforce private property signs. Instead of looking at the State laws, check your local ordinances.
                        Not all entrances to buildings have stop signs in front of them. In fact, most don't.

                        I checked my city law, and it doesn't say anything about enforcement of private property signs.

                        TN law also says that you can't park, stand, or stop a vehicle within 20 feet of a crosswalk, or within 30 feet of a stop sign. I see stop signs in parking lots sitting right beside where people park their cars.

                        What I'm going to do is look up and see if the city/county/state put the stop sign in. If the property owner put it in, then I think that would help me.

                        Hell, the property owner could put in 100 stop signs if he wanted to. That is why a study has to be done to make sure a stop sign is being put where it can be put according to the MUTCD. Without these laws, there would be chaos. Then again, I still haven't found anything that says these laws are also designed to cover traffic signs on private property.

                        Imagine if the private parking lot owner put in a traffic signal.
                        Last edited by jasonsmith; 11-17-2006, 01:14 AM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by turbowray View Post
                          Here is a better site, ran by officers, and answered by officers, there is an answer by a TN officer. Here is the link, and this covers your question.

                          http://forums.officer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=54163
                          Thanks man. And no hard feelings. I knew you probably knew the thing about the paddel, but I was trying to be technical as what would happen in court.

                          And I understand. I wasn't trying to say nothing can be enforced on private property. I was focusing on traffic signs, as there are specific laws regarding where and how these can be placed and enforced. It just looks like a grey area to me.
                          Last edited by jasonsmith; 11-17-2006, 01:18 AM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            If there is a crosswalk leading from the curb in front of the door, then the stop signs are in place to let drivers know that the pedestrians in the crosswalk have the right-of-way, not just as a way to control speeding vehicles (that's what speed bumps are for).

                            As far as it being a "parking lot" and not a "road", that's not really valid in all cases. Many times the lanes that lead through parking lots and in front of stores are actually roads, with or without their own street names. This would qualify them as public roads or throughfares, since vehicles can use them for through travel and not just as a means to access the parking lot.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by rainasky View Post
                              If there is a crosswalk leading from the curb in front of the door, then the stop signs are in place to let drivers know that the pedestrians in the crosswalk have the right-of-way, not just as a way to control speeding vehicles (that's what speed bumps are for).

                              As far as it being a "parking lot" and not a "road", that's not really valid in all cases. Many times the lanes that lead through parking lots and in front of stores are actually roads, with or without their own street names. This would qualify them as public roads or throughfares, since vehicles can use them for through travel and not just as a means to access the parking lot.
                              You're saying the crosswalk leading from the curb into the street in front of the door?

                              The reason why I say it is a speed control device is that there are three other sets of doors that have these "crosswalks" and no stop signs. If the stop signs were there because pedestrians have the right-of-way, then why do the other three crosswalks don't have stop signs?

                              The crosswalk consists of yellow diagnol lines, and the MUTCD says that crosswalk lines must be made with white paint.

                              Also, Tennessee law says it is illegal to park within 20 feet of a crosswalk, and 30 feet of a stop sign. And I see stop signs sitting right beside places where people park. Does this rule not apply?

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