Improper Turns – Traffic Tickets in New York

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English: A rare but beautiful sight: a turn on...

English: A rare but beautiful sight: a turn on red sign in NYC! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You’re following your GPS, trying to drive safely on the road and locate your destination.  For some reason you missed the spot you were supposed to turn and instead kept driving down the road.  You know you have to turn around but the now you realize you need to drive a couple miles before you find an exit to properly turn back around.  Next thing you know you’re looking around to see if you can pull a U-turn.  You think the coast is clear so you make a quick U-turn and get onto the other side of the road.  Unfortunately, the red and blue lights are flashing behind you and you’ve been caught making an illegal U-turn in New York.

This temporary lapse in judgment now cost you the time you were trying to save making that turn and now you are looking at a day in court with points on your license and a fine.  Article 28 of New York’s Vehicle & Traffic Law covers turning and U-turn infractions.  Namely section 1160-(e) involves improper U-turns where a first offense is $150 fine, $93 surcharge and 2 points on your license.  The fines increase to $300 for a second offense and $450 for a third offense within 18 months.

What Are The Basic Regulations When Making Turns In New York?

For U-Turns remember:

  • U-turns should always be made from the furthermost left lane and into the furthermost left lane when it is permissible by law.  Always looks to see if there are any signs that are posted.

For Right turns remember:

  • Drivers should approach and make a right turn as close as practicably possible to the right hand curb
  • Remember to always use your turn signals at least 100 feet before making the right turn.
  • At the traffic signal, if you are able to turn right on red remember to yield the right of way to oncoming traffic.

For Left turns remember:

  • Check for any signs that might prohibit you from making a left turn.
  • Unless you have a green left-turn arrow indicating you can make the left turn, you must yiel to oncoming traffic at a traffic signal.
  • Also, remember to use your turn signal at least 100 feet before making the left turn.

Should I Hire An Attorney?

At the very least you should consult with an attorney to see whether you should fight your ticket.  Moving infractions can have a major impact on your license and insurance rates.  If you have received a traffic ticket for making an improper turn or U-turn call Rosenblum Law today and find out how our team of skilled NY traffic ticket attorneys can help you fight your ticket.  We have represented thousands of clients over the years and have saved clients from losing their license and hundreds of dollars in fines and increases to their insurance.

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This post was written by Adam H. Rosenblum Esq.

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  • Wing
    February 7, 2019

    I live in nyc and I made a u turn on my left hand side. There were no signage showing I can’t turn or anything. I proceeded to make a u turn when it was a safe and got a violation
    Can I fight this in court saying that there are no signage ?

    • Ronen Cohen
      February 18, 2019

      Hello Wing and thank you for your question. To answer, yes you can fight this in court. I would suggest contacting us at 888-883-5529 for a free consultation and to obtain a more thorough assessment of the likelihood of success on your case.

  • Tony
    February 1, 2019

    I got a ticket for improper u turn should I fight it

    • Ronen Cohen
      February 8, 2019

      Hello Tony, thank you for your question. I would need more information to better help as there are differing procedures based on the location of the incident. Please contact us at 888-883-5529 for a free consultation.

  • Carlos
    November 13, 2018


    I got a ticket for making a left turn when I shouldn’t have.

    The description is 1110A “Disobeyed Traffic Control Device / Sign”

    Should I fight it?

    Thanks. Carlos

    • Ronen Cohen
      November 14, 2018

      Carlos – While I would suggest contesting this violation, the procedures by which to do so vary based on the court that has jurisdiction over your case.

  • Aixa
    November 2, 2018

    I live in NJ I was looking for parking for Church located on W 51th. I was on broadway and I made a right on green light on but did not notice there was a sign or two now that is saw them that stated no right turn. I was pulled over the officer stated he had camera recording everything. He gave me violation code 1110a which I look up is for running a red light also wrote wrong plate number. As I didn’t do that do I have fighting chance in having the judge dismiss the ticket. based that his camera would prove I didn’t run the red light and obviously he doesn’t know his ticket violation codes. As I believe he gave me the wrong ticket violation code and wrote wrong plate number

    • Ronen Cohen
      November 6, 2018

      Aixa – the officer gave you a ticket for a ‘disobey traffic control device’ violation. This broad statute can arguably include a violation that you have described. While generally speaking, clerical errors will not result in the dismissal of a ticket – I would suggest contacting us to discuss this particular situation due to the numerous inconsistencies present with your ticket.

  • Bradley
    June 27, 2018

    Our driver (employee) was issued a ticket for “Improper Turn” because his front blinker bulb was broken and he were not aware–one minute it worked and then it didn’t. They did not issue an equipment ticket. The police were in front of him–the rear blinker was working. The front blinker was repaired the same day and we have a receipt. However as it was “improper turn” would that have any effect on the ticket? The policewoman said he should have put his arm out the window. Not sure if its better to fight or pay. We can pay the fine but he’ll be stuck with the points.

    • Ronen Cohen
      July 11, 2018

      I suggest contesting this violation. Please provide the violation code in order that we may provide further insight into this ticket.

  • Rosemary
    June 8, 2018

    Hello, I made a right turn off of 9 th Avenue towards the Lincoln Tunnel. I was following lots of other cars but got pullled over immediately because it said buses only from that lañe. I also did not see a small sign that said no right turn from 4 to 7 pm , it was around 5 pm and raining outside and I never saw that sign. I contested by mail and wrote what had happened instead of appearing in court, they gave me that option, I just received a guilty penalty saying I owe 138 dollars by the end of the month, I can appeal this again for 10 dollars and the appeals board will determine and look at the penalty only! But I would have to plead guilty! I live in NJ and don’t have the money to pay this! So many other cars made the same right turn but didn’t get pulled over! It was random!mwhat should I do? Thanks Rose

    • Ronen Cohen
      June 20, 2018

      Rose – based solely on the facts that you have presented to me, I believe an appeal would have a low probability of success in this jurisdiction. It should be noted the actions of other drivers would generally not have any impact on your case.

  • Sharna L
    May 26, 2018

    I live in New York City. I received an “Improper u-turn ticket” under Violation 1160(E). I was boxed in by a delivery truck on the service road, my only option was to go forward. In prder to get out. so I made a u turn at the stop light while it was on red, i was on the right side and I made a left u turn in front of the delivery truck which was double parked at the light. (On the service road) I Dont mind paying the fine but can i fight the points.. Also the officer wrote the incorrect expiration date for my registration.. do I have a case base on technicality? Basically he wrote expired on 8/31/2017, but it really expires 09/01/2019.

    • Ronen Cohen
      May 30, 2018

      Unfortunately, an error such as you have described will be viewed as ‘clerical’ in nature, and thus will not warrant a dismissal of the ticket against you. However, it is possible to contest this violation via the cross examination of the officer.

  • Jon
    November 3, 2017

    I received my first ticket yesterday for an improper left turn. I took a left turn a little too tight and scraped the front end a a car stopped on the road i was turning on. I am 17, have my junior lisence and this is my first traffic violation. Should i try and fight the ticket?

    • RLF Attorneys
      November 9, 2017

      Jon – what offense are you currently charged with?

  • Mike
    November 3, 2017

    I was driving east in the right lane on 42nd St behind a truck. Approximately 100 feet from 11th Ave, the truck stopped in front of an apartment building very close to the corner and put on its flashers. I went around the truck. I was in the middle lane and traffic was coming up behind me. In front of the double parked truck was a taxi discharging a passenger. The right lane also had a solid white line. In addition, I had been to a doctor 2 days prior for intense pain in my right shoulder (I have the medical records). The pain was still present. I didn’t want to block traffic so I continued and made a wide turn from the middle lane onto 11th Ave after the solid white line ended. A cop was sitting half way between 42 & 41st streets on the east side of 11th Ave in his cruiser facing south. . He didn’t ask me any questions & gave me a 1163(a) ticket for an “Improper turn.” He did not cite me for failure to signal. Isn’t VTL1163(a) given for failure to signal? Shouldn’t he have cited VTL 1160(a)? He couldn’t see the truck double parked on 42nd St. from his position. I’ve never received a ticket since I received my license 34 yrs. ago. Do I have a case?

    • RLF Attorneys
      November 9, 2017

      VTL 1163(a) is issued for ‘unsafe turn without a signal.’ A reading of the statute illustrates that it may be given for an unsafe turn, as well as an unsafe turn without a signal.

  • Pat
    August 10, 2017

    Hello. I was on Shelter Rock Road in North Hills Nassau County NY. I drove into the left lane (which had a left turn arrow marking on the ground) and made a U-turn. There were no signs where I turned. The cop said that U-turns are not allowed on that road. I looked it up on the towns website and it says what the cop said. I’m not from the area nor am I familiar with the area. Is there a chance that the judge will cut me a break and not give me points on my license?

    • RLF Attorneys
      August 11, 2017

      Pat – what type of offer you receive from the court will depend on numerous factors, including your previous record. Not being familiar with the area will unfortunately not be a defense here.

  • Gary
    May 4, 2017

    I was cited for an improper turn and the officer explicitly told me I would not receive points. Now, approximately 1.5 months later when they finally entered my ticket into the system it says there are points associated with it. I am absolutely willing to testify to this under oath and my wife was also in the car as a witness. Will this have any bearing in court?

    • RLF Attorneys
      May 11, 2017

      You may testify at your trial, and it may have some weight. However, you and your wife’s testimony will likely be seen as biased. Where this occurred will also play an important part in how your case gets resolved.

  • Barbara
    March 9, 2017

    I received a ticket making a right hand turn into the 86th st transverse at park ave. 1160a . Friday afternoon. I was in the middle lane. The right lane was marked Bus only on the ground and also in a sign for those hours, with no additional marking that right turns were allowed from that lane. There were police officers lined up right after the turn pulling cars over that made the turn from the middle lane. Do I have a defense to fight the ticket? Seems that I was obeying the law by not driving in the bus only lane. What do you think?

    • RLF Attorneys
      March 14, 2017

      Barbara – you are facing a 2 point ticket that will likely impact your insurance rates. I would be happy to provide guidance as to how you should contest this ticket. You may reach us at 888-883-5529.

  • Juan giraldo
    February 26, 2017

    Hi I am a limousine driver from ct last night I was driving in manhattan on 57 st btw 6th and 7th ave; I make a u turn and the middle of the street and a police man catch me and give me a ticket
    The question is can you help me out with this
    I have a comercial driver and i am worry about the points in the license
    If you can help me out
    Can you tell me how much can be

    • RLF Attorneys
      March 9, 2017

      If you would like to contest this 2 point ticket, you must plead not guilty and bring this matter to court. As there is no plea bargaining in this court system, a trial will be necessary in order to obtain a dismissal.

  • David
    February 24, 2017

    Entering Manhattan via Third Ave Bridge.
    Signs on bridge clearly show 2 lanes (2 down arrows) to get to Lex Ave
    I take the lane under the second (right most) arrow.
    That ends up as middle lane off bridge.
    Try to get into far left lane to make L onto Lex but am unable to do traffic and get pulled over.
    Directional on properly.
    Followed signs to Lex as indicated and then simply couldn’t get over fast enough.
    Any case when contesting?

    • RLF Attorneys
      February 27, 2017

      David – please clarify what you were specifically ticketed for. We will then be able to advise accordingly.

  • Hanna
    January 28, 2017

    I made a left turn from the middle lane.
    The right lane had a green turn arrow.
    However, due to traffic, there was no way for me to get into that lane.
    When the arrow turned green, I turned with the left lane.
    The police officer was sitting right in frnt so he did see me clearly
    Do I have a case? Or should I just pay the ticket and take the 2 point penalty?

    • RLF Attorneys
      February 6, 2017

      The issue here is whether the officer is able to prove that you were violating the statute by clear and convicining evidence (assuming this occurred under the jurisdiction of the traffic violations bureau). Thus, bringing this matter to trial and cross examining the officer will provide you with an opportunity to get your ticket dismissed.

  • Allen
    January 14, 2017

    I came off the high way onto a two lane road both going one way towards the light. I made a left turn from the right lane. There were no marking or signs saying anything. This is in the Bronx by the way. I got a ticket for improper turn. Can I fight it?

    • Allen
      January 14, 2017

      I know I can fight. But what’s the law say?

  • Andrew Ramallo
    December 1, 2016

    I received a yellow driving summons while making an improper left turn on 11/10/16. I had no issue paying the fine except there is no amount on the summons. I have checked the DMV site regularly and it keeps telling me the ticket has not been entered into the system. It is now 12/1/16 and as of yet no info is available on their website. How do I go about handling this?

    • RLF Attorneys
      December 7, 2016

      It may take some time before a ticket is logged into the system. Please check that the information you entered into the NY DMV’s site matches the ticket itself.

  • Jim
    November 22, 2016

    Hi, the morning of Jan 20 2016, I was making right turn on 23rd street into 6 ave north. because a car stopped on the right lane on 23rd street, all cars including police cars switched to central lane and then made the right turn into 6th avenue north using the center lane.
    I was instantly issued a violation tickets “Improper turn”. I mailed to NYS office to plea not guilty on this ticket. I was noticed to go to court in Feb. 2017.
    But I forgot to take pictures in that day and new current rules for this interaction is “no right turn”.
    How should i prepare for the court hearing?
    Thanks a lot!

    • RLF Attorneys
      November 28, 2016

      This court system requires a trial, as there is no plea bargaining in the traffic violations bureau. The officer has the burden of proof in this court – which is clear and convincing evidence. Irrespective of the new signage, the issue is whether your initial offense violated the vehicle and traffic law. Generally speaking, it appears that this violation would qualify. If you would like to discuss further strategy, you may reach us for a free consultation at 888-883-5529.

  • Shuo
    November 17, 2016

    Hi, this morning on my way to work, I was making right turn on west 42nd street into 6 ave. Instead of using the right lane, I attempt to make right turn using the center lane. I was instantly issued two violation tickets “Improper turn” and “failed to yield right of way”. Upon issuance of these two tickets, the officer even told me to plea not guilty on these ticket. How should I proceed it?

    • RLF Attorneys
      November 22, 2016

      I suggest you contest these tickets as they carry points, fines, and will likely have a substantial impact on your insurance rates. As this ticket will be under the jursidiction of the traffic violations bureau, there is no plea bargaining or negotiations possible. The only way to contest this ticket is by bringing this matter to trial.

  • Robert
    November 15, 2016

    I rented a car and made a right turn at around 10:00 Am in Brooklyn where there was a sign that said no right turn 7:00 am to 7:00 pm. I made the turn on green. I’ve since learned there was a red light camera at the intersection. Do those cameras flag and ticket violations like mine?

    I reside and am licensed in California. Thanks

    • RLF Attorneys
      November 16, 2016

      Camera tickets are zero point violations. I suggest you pay this ticket as it is not likely worth your money hiring an attorney for a ticket of this nature.

  • Natalie
    November 3, 2016

    I received a ticket for an improper U turn.
    I was trying to enter a shopping center, and instead of turning left and breaking a double yellow line, I went further down to a light with a left turn lane. There were NO posted “No U-turn” signs. I did a u turn with a police officer behind me… and after explaining to him the above, he still issued me a ticket.

    • RLF Attorneys
      November 6, 2016

      In order to provide further assistance, we require the name of the court – as there are two court systems in NY that vary widely with their procedures.

  • Bert santiago
    May 23, 2016

    I received a ticket for no right turn from 7to7 in Manhattan. The ticket has everything correct except my license plate is off by one letter. He wrote an n instead of a w. Do I have a chance to fight this ticket?

    • Adam Rosenblum
      May 26, 2016

      Typically, the office does have the opportunity to correct that type of a mistake at trial and would be able to rely on his written notes. However, I would be happy to discuss what we could offer and other legal arguments that may help to prevail at trial.

      Lindsay Bernstein, Esq.
      Rosenblum Law Firm

  • James Best
    May 22, 2016

    My name is James Best. I am 20 years old. I was driving my friend to the bus station last night when I turned into the left lane from three lanes over to drop him off. There were no cars on the road so I thought I was ok. Little did I know the officer stopped me to say I had made the improper turn. I didnt even know I violated anything myself.

    Two things.
    The officer said I broke a red light when I believe the light was yellow. But I was also not driving with a license as I had lost mine and was waiting for a new one to come in. The license was my fault. He seemed to give me a break with just a citation for an improper left turn. However he told me that if I fight it he will mention the broken red light.

    I dont want to fight it. I have only had my drivers license for less than two years this is my first ticket.
    What fine will I have to pay if I plead guilty and what can I do to reduce the fine?

    I am willing to take a defensive driving class to get the points off. I have the time because its the summer.

  • Brittney watkins
    May 7, 2016

    I was wrote a improper right turn ticket due to a accident that I was involved in on private property at a truck stop. There was no signs to tell you what way to go. How is that ticket legal?

    • Adam Rosenblum
      May 19, 2016

      Brittney – I would need more details in order to be able to advise you further. You may contact me for a free consultation at 888-883-5529.

  • Marc Evan
    October 29, 2014

    I received my first ticket ever for a moving violation (in over 25 years of driving) today.. an illegal left turn. I simply was following my GPS which (w/ speech guidance) ) said make a left, and the Mapquest I had looked at earlier said to make a left there, too. There were signs that said no lefts… i didn’t not see them. I did not look for them… I was more concerned with the crazy amount of pedestrians and not trying to hit anyone or a car. And I was late for an appointment. I’m generally a VERY safe driver. A cop saw me make the left, made me stop, gave me a summons. I cannot say that I did NOT make that turn. I am wondering 2 things:

    1. Does the fact that a GPS gave me these directions hold any weight at all towards judges’s sympathies? I maybe able to save that trip n the iPhone. Also, the Mapquest printout clearly shows that in not only the step by step directions but on the map too.

    2) It looks like the cop made a mistake on one of the letters of my license plate when he noted it in the box. at least on the 2 copies I have. Perhaps the other 2 strokes of that letter came in stronger on his original copy, but from my summons you cannot tell that what looks like a L is supposed to be an E. If in fact he did mess up and wrote the wrong letter, does the judge need to throw it out, or have the option to consider that?

    Ironically, I finished my Defensive Driving Course yesterday, with no points to begin with, to lower my insurance bill.

    • Adam Rosenblum
      November 6, 2014


      In answer to your first question, unfortunately the fact that your GPS/Mapquest told you to turn will not get you out of your ticket. At certain intersections there are times at which you cannot make certain turns (and generally this is during the times of the day when there is a high volume of traffic/ pedestrians to watch out for). In answer to your second question, the simple errors on the face of your ticket also will not get your ticket dismissed since the ticket can be amended. You can, however, fight your ticket and we can do that for you. The ticket you received is likely an improper left turn ticket which carries 2 points and a max fine/court fee of $235. If you just took a defensive driving course you probably already know how valuable it is to preserve your good driving record because once you have a violation on your record, your insurance will likely increase. Since you just took the time out of your day to do the course to get a reduced rate, you probably don’t want to negate that result by pleading guilty and taking the points and the conviction.