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  • Issuing a traffic ticket to a foreigner?

    A little bit of background on this rather weird question. I hold dual citizenship from the USA and Poland. My drivers license is issued in Illinois (I go to school in Florida). In Poland I drive in a Florida registered Jeep Liberty (registered of course to a family member that has Florida residency so we do not have to do emissions testing if it was Illinois registered). The car is legally driven out of the country every 6 months to comply with registry laws in Poland and in order for us to keep US plates.

    Anyways, I did get pulled over there several times for speeding and other things which resulted from the Police initially not realizing the car is US registered and exempt from domestic vehicle code (such as mandatory asymetrical front lights, color of turn signals, rear foglight, mandatory mufflers etc). Of course I was let go for the non-moving violations as they did not apply to me, but for the speeding, driving into a commercial/government vehicle street (by pure accident this one) and other small stuff such as an illegal turn (this happened in more than one European country) I have never received a ticket probably because the Police had no idea how to enter the car in their system, where to send the ticket or even how to enforce such a ticket. This exact same thing happened to me once when I rode the subway in Poland on a 24hr ticket that literally expired 5 minutes prior and got stopped by city officials who were dumbfounded what to do with me as I only had my IL DL on me and let me go. So here comes a reverse scenario of a foreigner (say European for this example):

    1. If you pull over someone for speeding/rolling stop etc. in the USA with a foreign drivers license do you usually write them a ticket?
    2. Do holders of foreign licenses have to pay the fine up front in the USA? And what happens if they dont have the money with them, do they go to jail? Question comes from the fact that realistically speaking US plates are immune to speed cameras and parking tickets in several countries I have drove in.
    3. How do you check valid insurance/registration on cars? Specifics here include cars on European plates that do not conform to US emissions laws and do not exist here (For example Polish/EU issued plates have no registration period sticker, and the insurance is tied to the plate so more often than not there is no insurance card).
    4. If someone has a suspended foreign drivers license, is that normally possible to even check during such a traffic stop?
    5. How do you run a check when you pull over a holder of an American issued DL in a foreign registered car in the USA? Of course you check paperwork but in most cases it wont be in English (sometimes not even in Western Alphabet) so then what?

    I understand that if the infraction was something larger jail time is in order, but my curiosity is simply for normal moving and non-moving violations and how you guys would deal with such a scenario. As I said before, my curiosity stems from my experiences overseas on American DL/International Permit.
    Last edited by PA42; 10-29-2008, 11:52 PM.

  • #2
    I do ridealongs with the local PD and i recall something along the lines of that. Driver only had his russian id or something and i believe the officer i was with let him off with a warning.

    What i wanna know is if they dont pay the fines what are the repercussions on their DL from their native country. I cant believe that our country would work together with others like that.
    Originally posted by ISPY4U2
    I'd have pooped myself.
    "But Officer, it's not my butthole. Really, it's my cousins butthole."

    -V

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    • #3
      3 years ago I actually got a ticket in Slovakia in the middle of the night for not having a "interstate" sticker when on a highway equivalent to $150-170USD. I never paid it as I didnt have the cash on me so I checked off to pay it later. Never heard about it after that night and never paid it.Got pulled over again by their police in May for supposedly making an illegal right turn and didnt hear about that previous violation either. Ive been also struck with a few obscure parking tickets around Warsaw also that Ive never paid on my US registered car. First time the parking ticket situation came up I went to pay it and the traffic office of course couldnt find the violation information or car registration in the system so I explained to them that I have American plates and they told me that in the future I shouldnt waste my time trying to pay them because they cant even recall it or enforce it.

      BTW, I really do think that the chance that a ticket in the USA would have reprocussions on a foreign DL is slim to none. I used to have a Polish drivers license for vehicle export/registration reasons which are not related to matters in this thread. Long story short, I got rid of it because I had to identify with it to authorities in Poland which was a pain in the a** when I frequently had to explain to them why I did not have a mandatory Country ID at all and I didnt have my Polish passport on me at all times. During the 2-3 year stretch I had that DL Ive never heard about the tickets I got in the US on that driving license. The question is, how do you asses points if you cant even access DMV Records (Hell, theres not even a state DMV in the first place) or when the point system is totally different and runs on a different point maximum?

      These questions of course are moot when you are renting a car here or there because the police will just get your information from them and charge your credit card. However, as stated previously this pertains to private vehicles that are in the USA on foreign plates + individuals with foreign licenses.
      Last edited by PA42; 10-30-2008, 01:10 AM.

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      • #4
        No international DL? No passport in possession? your car gets impounded...and you can get a ticket...I write tickets to illegals daily, I also impound their cars for 30 days...
        "For he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer." Romans 13:4

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        • #5
          Some places allow for the immediate arrest of a violator who is from out of state, or country, the arrest allows them to post bond or pay the fine at the station , and insures that the state gets their money...

          I work in Wash. DC I ALWAYS ticket out of state and out of Country residents, If they do not show up, warrant gets issued, and their "privilege to drive" in the state gets suspended, stop them again, after they are suspended, and they get arrested.....


          When I explain this, to tourists I stop,,,,, they usually pay the fine.

          Comment


          • #6
            Reading between the lines I assume you want to being a Polish registered car to the US for use while you go to school. First, I believe that US Customs will want to make sure the car meets our smog and lighting requirements before allowing it into the country. I suspect they may either charge you an import duty or require that you post a bond to ensure you remove the car from the country when you leave rather than sell it.

            Most states require that people living there (even if they are just going to school) surrender their foreign drivers license and license plates and obtain new ones from the state they are living in. Here in California you have 10 days after obtaining residency to get a state drivers license and 20 days in which to get license plates.

            Because importing a car for tourist driving is financially impractical and you need to get state registration if you are living here, driving around with Polish license plates is going to attract the attention of law enforcement. You will no doubt be stopped frequently and once it is determined that you are a resident who lacks a state license and registration, appropriate enforcement action would be taken.

            Normally a resident would be given a traffic citation for being an unlicensed driver who was operating an unregistered vehicle. This would require them to appear in court at a later date. However, if all you had was a foreign driver's license and a passport, and you lacked proper identification showing a local address, you could be taken to jail and held until the next court day and you car could be towed. The only way to get out of jail would be to post bail (money) with the court to ensure you will return on your court date.

            It is clear form your post that you are maintaining foreign registration to skirt the law. As a rule, we don't tolerate that here. If you get caught, the penalty is a lot more expensive than what it cost to obey the law in the first place.
            Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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            • #7
              No such thing as an international driver's license/permit. It's a booklet put out and sold by private organizations as a translation into several languages of your real license. It's not valid without your home country's driver license.

              I write tickets to illegals all day long. Of course if I find one from Tajikistan, and as my Tajik vocab is a little lacking, I'm probably not going to be able to get his name/address/phone number, unless it's on paperwork or he's cooperative.

              VINs on cars are US format, or foreign. We see both. Both fit in the box on the ticket. You're right that foreign plated cars skate on the photo tickets, just as your FL jeep in Poland does.

              As long as your name/DOB/fingerprint was all correctly recorded on the ticket, if you blew it off and went back to Tajikstan but one day came back to the state/city and got stopped again, you'd have a warrant out for you.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by bigcitypolice06 View Post
                No international DL? No passport in possession? your car gets impounded...and you can get a ticket...I write tickets to illegals daily, I also impound their cars for 30 days...
                +1 all the time. Maybe it's a Louisiana thing. No special privlages for illegals here.

                I would say this though, I spent over 15 years of my life in Europe. Granted I was in the military, but I never met a foreign national anywhere in Europe that didn't carry their passport everywhere they went. Even military members and their family members had to have their military issued ID card with them. A state issued DL or the international DL would not be sufficient for identification purposes. You may not go to jail for not having your ID/passport on you, but they would detain you until they could positively identify you. That was some time ago, and I know it relaxed some when the Berlin wall and the Soviet Bloc fell, but I don't think it changed that much.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by JI603 View Post
                  No such thing as an international driver's license/permit. It's a booklet put out and sold by private organizations as a translation into several languages of your real license. It's not valid without your home country's driver license.

                  I write tickets to illegals all day long. Of course if I find one from Tajikistan, and as my Tajik vocab is a little lacking, I'm probably not going to be able to get his name/address/phone number, unless it's on paperwork or he's cooperative.

                  VINs on cars are US format, or foreign. We see both. Both fit in the box on the ticket. You're right that foreign plated cars skate on the photo tickets, just as your FL jeep in Poland does.

                  As long as your name/DOB/fingerprint was all correctly recorded on the ticket, if you blew it off and went back to Tajikstan but one day came back to the state/city and got stopped again, you'd have a warrant out for you.
                  There is such a thing as an international drivers license. It's just not recognized in the United States.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by blackhorse View Post
                    There is such a thing as an international drivers license. It's just not recognized in the United States.
                    Can you post a link for a legitimate International License? I've traveled in six countries on three continents, lived abroad for two years, and NEVER have I found a real IDL. There IS an International Driver's Permit, but it only translates your home driver's license into foreign languages for the benefit of the native officer.

                    AAA is one of the Dept. Of State approved sources for the IDP.
                    I miss you, Dave.
                    http://www.odmp.org/officer/20669-of...david-s.-moore

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      To make a long story short. You violate a traffic law you get a summons. If there is any indication that you will have a problem showing up for court or paying the fine the book tells us we "shall" take you before the magistrate for a bond hearing on any matter. It is not our job to accomidate you its a priviledge to drive and if you intend on driving in this country you need to remember that or hire a driver to escort you around. As for driving in Poland or Europe you are on the wrong site, this is made up of mostly American L.E.
                      "Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. The MARINES don't have that problem." ....Ronald Reagan

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        It's not my responsibility to see that you're properly licensed, or that your vehicle meets emission/registration standards in the U.S. That's your responsibility. It's been noted, but worth mentioning again, that your vehicle could very well be impounded by U.S. Customs for non compliance with Federal Emissions Standards. This happens frequently with what are commonly referred to as "Grey Market Vehicles". Regarding traffic citations: They are essentially a courtesy to the public, in that you're released on your written promise to appear in court, or otherwise take care of the citation. Should an Officer have reason to doubt your willingness to comply with the terms/conditions of the citation, he/she has the right, even the duty, of taking you into custody pending your posting the required bond, or awaiting the court date. This would also involve the impounding of your vehicle. The general tone of your post suggests to me, that you're more interested in regaling the forum with your successful avoidance of arrest/summons in other countries.This may well continue, and you may even be somewhat successful attempting the same practices here. Simply be prepared for the day, either here, or in Europe, where your luck runs out. That's the day you'll be heading for the slammer in the back seat of a patrol car. You can then start a thread in which you compare a Polish jail to an American one.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Wow, you either need a driving course or some glasses. How many times have you been pulled over? Triple digits?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by blackhorse View Post
                            There is such a thing as an international drivers license. It's just not recognized in the United States.
                            An International Driver's License (IDL) or an International Driver's Document (IDD) is either an incorrect colloquial name for the official International Driving Permit (IDP), or is a seemingly official document that has no legal validity that plays upon confusion with the actual document.

                            The concept that there is an "International Driver's License", separate from the ordinary driver's license, is false. A document called that is usually a scam, misleading the driver into thinking that he or she is purchasing official documents accepted internationally. The only internationally accepted documentation is the International Driving Permit combined with the standard valid driver's license from the driver's country of residence. The IDP is a multiple language translation of the existing driver's license, and is not a license to operate a motor vehicle by itself.

                            In the USA the Department of State authorizes both the American Automobile Association (AAA) and the National Automobile Club (NAC) via their affiliation with the American Automobile Touring Alliance (AATA) to issue an International Driving Permit. This IDP does no more than verify your U.S. State driver license information. It must be paid for, and is valid for only one year. All other so-called "International Drivers Licenses" or "International Driving Documents" are scams.

                            It's from wiki but you can get the same thing off the US state dept. webpage

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              You seem to get pulled over a lot and have a lot of excuses. The Florida vehicle code goes for all vehicles driving in FLORIDA, not just ones registered in Florida. Come drive like that in my area and you'll get plenty of tickets.

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