Last week, a Sacramento police officer received tons of backlash after a video surfaced of an altercation in which he threw a man to the ground and began striking him for allegedly jaywalking.

The video caused a lot of questions, and has sparked debate about crosswalks and what defines jaywalking.

In California, there's various definitions of jaywalking and the most common one is under California Vehicle Code (CVC) 21955. It states that, “Between adjacent intersections controlled by traffic control signal devices or by police officers, pedestrians shall not cross the roadway at any place except in a crosswalk.”

Jaywalking is completely different from the use of crosswalks because pedestrians have the right-of-way with crosswalks when abiding by the rules of the road, according to the State of California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). 

Many people know what marked crosswalks are, but how can you tell if someone is using an unmarked crosswalk?

A crosswalk is defined in CVC 275 (a) as,"That portion of a roadway included within the prolongation or connection of the boundary lines of sidewalks at intersections where the intersecting roadways meet at approximately right angles, except the prolongation of such lines from an alley across a street."

An unmarked crosswalk is not specifically defined, but the concept is found in those same aforementioned rules.

If the lines of sidewalk that usually connect at intersections where there's an interesting roadway are not there, then that's an unmarked crosswalk - It's basically where the lines should be, but they're not visible.

The CVC 21950 states that,"The driver of a vehicle approaching a pedestrian within any marked or unmarked crosswalk shall exercise all due care and shall reduce the speed of the vehicle or take any other action relating to the operation of the vehicle as necessary to safeguard the safety of the pedestrian."

In short, the right-of-way typically belongs to pedestrians, so if you're driving always be aware.