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Strictly Speaking, You're A Lawbreaker

family in carA federal appeals court recently struck down license plate display laws, like the one in VC 5201.1. Laws like this are often little more than excuses to pull over motorists in Fresno and Bakersfield.

In United States v. Flores, a case from the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Illinois, a State Trooper pulled over a vehicle because its license plate frame covered the top half of the “B” in “Baja California.” All the pertinent information was clearly visible, and the trooper admitted as such in later testimony. As a result, the trooper had to rather weakly justify the stop by saying that the frame could have been “covering another state or region above Baja California.” Mr. Flores’ attorneys pointed out that an overly-strict interpretation would mean that anything that obstructed any part of the license plate – even a spec of dirt or splash of mud – would be criminal behavior.

In conclusion, Chief Judge Diane Pamela Wood wrote “It seems to us unrealistic – and unreasonable – to expect a wide segment of the driving population to remove these conventional plate frames in order to avoid a traffic stop.”

Ticky-Tack Stops

After reading the entire record, it is obvious that this stop had absolutely nothing to do with roadway safety. The trooper suspected Mr. Flores of illegal activity – he later admitted that he received $2,000 to transport $125,000 in heroin to Ohio from Mexico City – and the trooper needed a reason to justify the stop.

Unfortunately, sometimes drivers still receive citations based on very minor infractions when they aren’t doing anything else that is illegal. In addition to violations of the dreaded license plate cover law, some drivers are pulled over for driving a reasonable speed but over the speed limit, rolling through a stoplight at 3 in the morning, and the list goes on.

Often, these tickets are issued at the behest of someone higher up in the department who says something like “We need to write more tickets this month.” Although a violation is a violation, no matter how small, an attorney can often get the fines and/or points dramatically reduced.

Getting Legal Help

The aggressive lawyers at Bigger & Harman, APC, are committed to giving individuals a voice when dealing with speeding and traffic tickets. Call today at 661-859-1177 or email attorney@markbigger.com to receive the personal professional attention you deserve. En español, llame al 661-376-0214.