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Dirty Rear License Plates

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  • Dirty Rear License Plates

    If a rear license plate is so dirty that it is illegible or unreadable because the car was taken off-road a lot or is coming back from a trip on the Dalton Highway (or some kid egged it), would that be grounds to pull them over solely on that basis?

    Or would they have to commit an actual traffic infraction first and then you'd just point out the dirtiness of the plate to the driver?

  • #2
    Yes. Obscured plates is a valid stop.
    Originally posted by kontemplerande
    Without Germany, you would not have won World War 2.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Ex-Soviet View Post
      Or would they have to commit an actual traffic infraction first and then you'd just point out the dirtiness of the plate to the driver?
      A dirty plate is a traffic infraction. My state law says the tag must be reasonably clean *and* legible

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      • #4
        Check your local state's transportation code or penal code for further questions you may have. Most if not all states have online versions.

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        • #5
          Thank you for the answers! Much appreciated.

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          • #6
            TCA 55-4-110 in TN.

            Every registration plate shall at all times be securely fastened in a horizontal position to the vehicle for which it is issued so to prevent the plate from swinging and at a height of not less than twelve inches (12²) from the ground, measuring from the bottom of the plate, in a place and position to be clearly visible and shall be maintained free from foreign materials and in a condition to be clearly legible; provided, if a motorcycle is equipped with vertically mounted license plate brackets, its license plate shall be mounted vertically with the top of such license plate fastened along the right vertical edge. No tinted materials may be placed over a license plate even if the information upon the license plate is not concealed.
            I'm 10-8 like a shark in a sea of crime..

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            • #7
              Just realized that I have another question on this topic. So now that we've established that it's a valid reason for a traffic stop, what happens? You point it out to the driver and provided that there are no other infractions, could they just get out a paper towel and some water from the water bottle & clean it up right then and there? Will you give a ticket for that?

              Or they could drive to the gas station and use the windshield cleaner to clean it up. What of that?

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              • #8
                Totality of the circumstances. A phrase that answers most questions of this sort.

                What was the context of the situation. Is the decal expired and just happens to be “dirty” ? Are they doing something that having their tag numbers obscured would be of benefit? The list can go on for miles.
                Originally posted by SSD
                It has long been the tradition on this forum and as well as professionally not to second guess or Monday morning QB the officer's who were actually on-scene and had to make the decision. That being said, I don't think that your discussion will go very far on this board.
                Originally posted by Iowa #1603
                And now you are arguing about not arguing..................

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                • #9
                  California Vehicle Code Section 5201 addresses such issues for California.

                  5201. License plates shall at all times be securely fastened to the vehicle for which they are issued so as to prevent the plates from swinging, shall be mounted in a position so as to be clearly visible, and so that the characters are upright and display from left to right, and shall be maintained in a condition so as to be clearly legible. The rear license plate shall be mounted not less than 12 inches nor more than 60 inches from the ground, and the front license plate shall be mounted not more than 60 inches from the ground, except as follows:
                  Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence!

                  [George Washington (1732 - 1799)]

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                  • #10
                    I would write them. I show no mercy to anyone. Now I have to go enforce some artificially low speed limits. Night!
                    For the cops out there: You are an adult. If you want to write someone, write them. If you don't want to write someone, then don't write them.

                    "Jeff, you are the best cop on this board"-Anonymous Post

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by SRT936 View Post
                      Yes. Obscured plates is a valid stop.
                      +1
                      Certified troll.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by SRT936 View Post
                        Yes. Obscured plates is a valid stop.
                        Especially if you are speeding through my revenue enhancing speed trap.

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                        • #13
                          Is this guy for real or what?

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                          • #14
                            You can find a TON of dope off of these stops
                            "Naw officer, I was hanging with my cousin"

                            "Sooo, real cousin or play cousins ?"

                            Originally posted by JasperST
                            I'm thinking a battalion of menstruating bearded women could kick some serious booty!

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                            • #15
                              Valid stop. Whether you write it or not is up to you.

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