Jaywalking is dangerous, but is it actually a crime?
As tempting as it is to cross the road when there are not any marked or unmarked crosswalks, many pedestrians still recognize that it is unsafe. When pedestrians cross the street in an area that does not have a crosswalk, it is considered jaywalking. While many people on foot may realize that this risky behavior is discouraged by law enforcement, is it an actual crime?
Jaywalking is against the law in Travis County and throughout the state of Texas. However, it is not a crime that is going to land you in jail if you are caught.
The Danger of Jaywalking
Many people think that cars must always yield the right-of-way to pedestrians. This is only true when pedestrians are within a crosswalk, whether the crosswalk is marked or unmarked. When there are no crosswalks present, Texas law mandates that pedestrians must yield to vehicles.
Pedestrians must give vehicles the right-of-way when cars are moving on a street or in-town highway that does not have any stop signs, speed bumps, or other measures intended to slow or stop vehicles. When pedestrians fail to do this, jaywalking can easily lead to an accident. Vehicles on these roads simply do not expect to come across a pedestrian crossing the road.
Although many pedestrians may think that jaywalking does not have any associated penalties, it does. When law enforcement notices that a pedestrian is jaywalking, they will typically try to speak to them about the dangers of crossing the road without a crosswalk. If the pedestrian is respectful and listens to the officer, they will likely not receive a ticket.
When pedestrians are not interested in listening to law enforcement and do not give any indication that they will stop the behavior, law enforcement may give them a citation. These tickets can cost pedestrians between $20 and $160.
Liability in Jaywalking Accidents
Another mistaken belief when it comes to pedestrians is that when a vehicle hits them, the driver is always liable. This is untrue. Pedestrians also have laws that they must abide by when they are on the road. When they fail to comply with these laws, they could be found negligent in an accident. The injuries pedestrians sustain during an accident are typically severe. If pedestrians are found at fault for the accident, they may have high medical bills and lost income for which they cannot receive compensation.
Although it may cause pedestrians a slight inconvenience, it is always advisable that those on foot wait until they find a crosswalk before crossing the street. The few minutes it may take is worthwhile considering the serious injuries a pedestrian could sustain when they jaywalk.
Were You Caught Jaywalking? Call Our Texas Criminal Defense Attorneys
Although it may happen on a smaller scale, sometimes law enforcement issues tickets to innocent individuals. This remains true when pedestrians receive a citation for jaywalking even when they were not guilty of the offense. If you have been issued a ticket for jaywalking, or for any other traffic violation, call our Travis County criminal defense attorneys at Granger and Mueller, PC, at (512) 474-9999. We always ensure your rights are upheld and will build you a solid defense to give you the best chance of beating your charges.