A. AZ Stop Sign law = ARS 28-855: Stop signs; yield signs
A. The director, with reference to state highways, and local authorities, with reference to other highways under their jurisdiction, may designate through highways and erect stop or yield signs at specified entrances to the through highways or may designate an intersection as a stop or yield intersection and erect like signs at one or more entrances to the intersection. B. A driver of a vehicle approaching a stop sign shall stop before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection, or if there is no crosswalk, shall stop at a clearly marked stop line, or if there is no line, shall stop at the point nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver has a view of approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway before entering the intersection except when directed to proceed by a police officer. C. The driver of a vehicle approaching a yield sign shall slow down in obedience to the sign to a speed reasonable for the existing conditions and shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle in the intersection or approaching on another highway so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard during the time the driver is moving across or within the intersection. If after driving past a yield sign without stopping the driver is involved in a collision with a vehicle in the intersection, the collision is prima facie evidence of the driver's failure to yield the right-of-way.
B. To be found GUILTY of AZ Stop Sign offense, each of the following legal elements must be satisfied by a PREPONDERANCE of Evidence:
1) You were driving vehicle and approaching a stop sign. 2) Stop sign must be at entrance to or within an intersection/ railroad grade crossing. 3) You must fail to come to a complete stop at: a) Stop line (white stripe painted at or near the beginning of the intersection), if it exists b) A crosswalk, if any c) At entrance to intersection or railroad crossing, if there is no line, shall stop at the point nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver has a view of approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway before entering the intersection.
STOP SIGN DEFENSES:
1) YOU STOPPED FARTHER BACK FROM STOP LINE: AZ statute says you: "shall stop at a clearly marked stop line, or if there is no line, shall stop at the point nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver has a view of approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway before entering the intersection". In essence this means you must stop slightly before you reach this line. Some overly conscientious drivers may actually stop farther back from the white marker line or crosswalk. On these facts, citing Officer down street or "near" intersection may not be able to see whether you were (driver) stopped or not. To Defend: i) Any corroborating witnesses or passengers to support your version of facts? Get affidavit or live testimony at hearing; ii) Request a copy of citing Officer's notes; and then, iii) Take pictures at scene from where officer's vehicle was positioned - if you can document a visual obstruction and testify you did stop.
STOP SIGN DEFENSES:
2) STOP LINE WAS FADED OR NOT CLEARLY MARKED Stop Lines and crosswalks fade or may not have ever been marked at all. "If there is no line, shall stop at the point nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver has a view of approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway before entering the intersection." If you were ticketed at stop sign for stopping inches or just a little bit too far into an intersection, you may successfully defend by showing (Preponderance of Evidence) stop line or crosswalk was faded or not clearly marked and could not been seen clearly - go back to scene and take pictures to support your position.
STOP SIGN DEFENSES:
3) STOP SIGN WAS OBSCURED = It was not my fault even if I did run the Stop Sign Defense Admission that if you did or may have accidentally run the stop sign, it was not your fault. Mistake of Fact Defense: Based on evidence and information available at scene at that time you made a reasonable mistake and it is not your fault. Mistake of Fact defense gains traction when you can reasonably advance your position that any reasonable person that lacked this piece of factually important information would also have broken this Stop Sign Law. Examples are when Stop Sign was missing or seriously obscured - many reason this can occur: limbs or branches / sign damaged / sign was hard to see from at a distance due to curve etc. - go back to scene and take pictures to support your position. Mistake of Facts are not the same as stupidity or failure to pay attention - those are not defenses.
STOP SIGN DEFENSES:
4) WAS THIS A NEW STOP SIGN? Can you prove that this is a newly installed stop sign that was not there before? This is another Mistake of Fact defense for a recently installed sign that was not there the last time (recent and frequent use: NOT 1 x 2 times a year). This defense will only work if you can prove Stop Sign: i) was recently installed; and, ii) that you used the road frequently before the Stop Sign was installed.
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