Traffic control devices – such as traffic lights – play a large role in limiting traffic accidents and keeping the roads safe for drivers and pedestrians. Due to their importance, interference with their operation may be prosecuted under California Vehicle Code Section 21464: Defacing or Interfering with a Traffic Control Device.
You can learn more about VC 21464 right here. You can review acts that can be considering defacing or interfering with a traffic control device. The Simmrin Law Group can also help you go over legal defenses for VC 21464 charges and the effects of a conviction in California.
California’s Definition of Defacing or Interfering with a Traffic Control Device
The court system in California uses VC 21464 to define acts that lead to defacing or interfering with a traffic control device. VC 21464 is subdivided into several different sections, each addressing acts that deface or interfere with traffic control devices. Let’s go over each section of VC 21464.
Vehicle Code Section 21464(a)
According to VC 21461(a), individuals in California can face criminal charges for defacing, removing, shooting at, knocking down, injuring, or attaching a substance or material to:
- Traffic Control Devices
- Traffic Guideposts
- Traffic Signposts
- Motorist Callboxes
- Historical Markers
Additionally, individuals cannot deface or interfere with any portion of a guide or marker, including:
Vehicle Code Section 21464(b)
VC 21464(b) prohibits unauthorized individuals from using a device to interrupt or change official traffic control signals. It also prohibits individuals from equipping their vehicle with these devices, unless the Department of Transportation has authorized such actions.
Vehicle Code Section 21464(c)
Individuals can face charges under VC 21464(c) if they take a device that can be used to change or interrupt official traffic control signals and they:
- Buy, Possess, or Install the Device
- Manufacture, Sell, Distribute, or Offer to Sell the Device
Again, individuals who have authorization from the Department of Transportation are exempted from VC 21464(c) charges.
Results of a Conviction for Defacing or Interfering with a Traffic Control Device
VC 21464 charges can be handled in a number of different ways in the court system in California. VC 21464 violations that do not lead to a serious bodily injury or death generally to:
- Fines of Up to $5,000
The penalties can be more severe if defacing or interfering with a traffic control device resulted in an injury or a death. In this situation, an individual could be charged with fines of up to $10,000. Depending on the situation surrounding the VC 21464 violation, an individual could be charged with:
- A Misdemeanor, Leading to Up to Six Months of Jail Time
- A Felony, Leading to Up to Three Years of Prison Time
A traffic violation lawyer in Los Angeles can go both misdemeanor and felony charges for defacing or interfering with a traffic control device.
Legal Defenses for Defacing or Interfering with a Traffic Control Device
A criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles can help you if you are accused of defacing or interfering with a traffic control device. A legal professional can review the facts surrounding your charges. Based on your specific situation, your criminal defense lawyer could work to show that:
You Didn’t Intend to Deface or Interfere with a Traffic Control Device
You should only face VC 21464 charges if you intentionally and purposefully acted to deface or interfere with a traffic control device. If your interference was accidental, you could avoid a conviction under VC 21464 in California.
You Didn’t Deface or Interfere with a Traffic Control Device
VC 21464 does not cover all acts that involve defacing or damaging property along the roads. If you defaced or damaged an item that does not qualify as a traffic control device, you shouldn’t face VC 21464 charges. However, you could still be charged with vandalism.
You Had Authorization to Interfere with a Traffic Control Device
As we mentioned, the Department of Transportation grants some individuals the right to interfere with traffic control devices. If you were adjusting one of these devices as a part of your legally assigned duties, you shouldn’t be convicted for a VC 21464 violation.
Call a Criminal Defense Lawyer to Deal with VC 21464 Charges
Make sure you’re ready to handle California Vehicle Code Section 21464: Defacing or Interfering with a Traffic Control Device charges by contacting the Simmrin Law Group right now. You can reach us easily by calling (310) 896-2723 or completing our online contact form.
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