Got a ticket in Baldwin County for not stopping for a funeral procession moving in the opposite direction. I was Southbound on a 4 lane highway with a center turn lane, while the procession was northbound. Is this right? Did I really "fail to yield to the dead" as the officer put it- or should I fight this? Seems pretty stupid to me I did not even know the stiff.
1 Answer from Attorneys
Here is the statute and if the facts are as you state, you have a defense legally even though your disrespect for the deceased is appalling. Decide if the legal fees are worth it to retain counsel:
§ 40-6-76. Funeral processions
(a) As used in this Code section, a "funeral procession" means an array of motor vehicles in which the lead vehicle displays a sign, pennant, flag, or other insignia furnished by a funeral home indicating a funeral procession unless led by a state or local law enforcement vehicle and each vehicle participating in the funeral procession is operating its headlights.
(b) Funeral processions shall have the right of way at intersections subject to the following conditions and exceptions:
(1) Operators of vehicles in a funeral procession shall yield the right of way upon the approach of an authorized emergency vehicle or law enforcement vehicle giving an audible and visual signal; and
(2) Operators of vehicles in a funeral procession shall yield the right of way when directed to do so by a traffic officer.
(c) Funeral processions escorted by the police, a sheriff, or a sheriff's deputy shall have the right of way in any street or highway through which they may pass. Local governments may, by ordinance, provide for such escort service and provide for the imposition of reasonable fees to defray the cost of such service.
(d) The operator of a vehicle not in a funeral procession shall not interrupt a funeral procession except when authorized to do so by a traffic officer or when such vehicle is an authorized emergency vehicle or law enforcement vehicle giving an audible and visual signal.
(e) Operators of vehicles not a part of a funeral procession shall not join a funeral procession by operating their headlights for the purpose of securing the right of way granted by this Code section to funeral processions.
(f) The operator of a vehicle not in a funeral procession shall not attempt to pass vehicles in a funeral procession on a two-lane highway.
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