Wednesday, October 23, 2019
By a MetNews Staff Writer
A one-way dirt road constituted a “highway,” Div. One of the Fourth District Court of Appeal has held, affirming the denial of a writ of administrative mandamus sought by a man whose driver’s license was revoked based on being found to have been under the influence when stopped by officers for driving with off-road headlights turned on.
The driver, Kennith Harold Evans, contended he was unlawfully stopped because there was no probable cause to believe he was violating Vehicle Code §4411 which provides that whenever a “vehicle is operated or driven upon a highway,” off-road lights “shall be covered or hooded with an opaque hood or cover, and turned off.” He was on a dirt road—with no speed limit signs, in the Imperial County Sand Dunes Recreational Area—not a “highway,” he protested.
Justice Judith L Haller responded in an unpublished opinion Monday that Vehicle Code §360 defines “highway” as “a way or place of whatever nature, publicly maintained and open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel.” She noted that the statute “does not require that the road be paved or have speed limit signs or other road markings.”
According to testimony, she recited, there were signs indicating it was a one-way road, and had a stop sign at each end of it.
Evans argued that his bright lights could not have caused harm because there was no oncoming traffic. Haller said that while Evans was on a portion of the road that was one-way, he was approaching the point where it became two-way.
“Accordingly, it was reasonable for the officers to stop the vehicle before it entered the two-way traffic zone,” she wrote.
The case is Evans v. Shiomoto, D073969.
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