There are a lot of traffic laws on the books. That means that there are a lot of traffic tickets being written across the country. A fairly common traffic ticket is one for an illegal U-turn.
It is late at night and you're tired from a long evening out with friends. You have to be up early the next morning for work and want to get home as quickly as possible. As you are dreaming of just how good your goose down feather pillow is going to feel, you realize you are traveling down the wrong street; you should've turned a mile back. Frustrated, you maneuver your car to a break in the intersection, glance at the "No U-Turn" sign, put your foot to the pedal, and turn around. Just as you do, lights start flashing behind you. You are being pulled over and you know why: an illegal U-turn.
What Is an Illegal U-Turn?
What exactly is an illegal U-turn? As with most things related to the law, the answer is "it depends." It depends on what jurisdiction you are driving in, the specific statute and the specific driving conditions, among other things. When making such turns, it's usually a good idea to keep an eye out for "No U-Turn signs," though. As a rule of thumb, it is almost never permissible to make a U-turn in the middle of an intersection or street. For instance, in most states, a traffic ticket can be issued to any driver who makes an illegal or unsafe U-turn. Again, what qualifies as illegal or unsafe?
Illegal or Unsafe
In some states, traffic laws require drivers to execute a U-turn only when it is reasonably safe to do so under the circumstances (based on the driver's ability to see approaching cars, the speed of oncoming traffic, etc.). Other states specifically prohibit drivers from making a U-turn or "turning around" on or near the crest of a hill, or near a curve that limits visibility to a few hundred feet.
Still other states make it a crime to simply cross two double yellow lines in the roadway. Finally, a driver who makes a U-turn at an intersection that has a posted "No U-Turn" sign has committed an illegal U-turn, and may receive a traffic ticket and traffic tickets are expensive.
Getting an Attorney's Help with a U-Turn Citation
If a police officer gives you ticket, you have options. You can pay up and admit responsibility. Or you can try to fight it in court. If you go the latter route, you should contact a qualified traffic ticket attorney in your jurisdiction today.
As you can see, things can get confusing fast. Luckily, FindLaw's Illegal U-Turn: Laws in All 50 States article has you covered. Refer to it (and your local DMV) to help you avoid an illegal U-turn ticket.