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  • Laws that vary state to state

    I have had a hard time trying to understand this concept in law enforcement.

    How do you handle a vehicle/driver that is in violation in your state for say too dark tinted windows or no front plate where they could be perfectly legal in there own state where the vehicle is registered?

    Another example, I had a friend who drove into Missouri from Iowa on his motorcycle who was stopped by a MO state trooper because my friend wasn’t wearing a helmet. My friend said he was not aware of the helmet law and he was cited and released. Fortunately he was about 15 miles out of KC so he stopped and picked one up. Iowa does not have a state helmet law.

    When you see these vehicle violations from people out of state do you not really worry about them? Do you give a break to these drivers who can legitimately say that I am just passing through on to another destination?

    I understand that ignorance of the law is not a valid defense however how is a average joe schome driver supposed to know all the different laws in each state they might be traveling through?

    This is not intended as a bash on law enforcement I am just trying to get a better understanding of concept about the job that has confused me.

    Thanks.

  • #2
    It really depends on me. For instance, I work in Florida where there is no front plate. However, I know that Texas requires a front plate. If I see a car with a rear plate showing Texas that doesn't have a front plate, he will be pulled over (because only showing one plate from a two plate state says a lot), and can be cited. As far as tint goes I won't ticket if they're under legal tint in Florida but legal in their states.

    As far as Helmet laws goes, riding a bike is like carrying a concealed weapon... you better know what the law is in the state you're traveling to before you go there.

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    • #3
      StudChris thanks for your reply.

      How can you cite a for a violation that you dont have jurisdiction in?

      Comment


      • #4
        Because the law isn't that (we'll use Texas and Florida as examples) that while in Texas you must have two plates and while in Florida you only have to have one, the law is that when showing Texas plates you must show two, and when showing Florida plates you only have the one on the back.

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        • #5
          It really depends on the law. For example, Ohio has a law about bumper height...other states do not. The Ohio law, however, specifically states that the bumper height regulations only apply to vehicles registered in the state of Ohio. Out of state vehicles are exempt. The same for vehicles with no front license plates. That's an individual state law, and not something that causes a problem where two license plates are required (I see a great many Indiana cars, where only one plate is required, and never pull them over because I know that Indiana only issues one plate).

          In the end, it really matters who the law is written in the state where you're at now, not your home state. If the law doesn't specifically exempt you because of differing state laws, then you're bound by the law in whatever state you're travelling in. Remember, ignorance of the law is not a defense.
          "He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."
          -Friedrich Nietzsche

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Jaguar57 View Post
            How can you cite a for a violation that you dont have jurisdiction in?
            I may misunderstand that sentence, but the answer is once you enter into another state you enter their jurisdiction. It doesn't matter what the state laws are back home, it just matters what the state laws are where you are. In most cases (aside from the examples mentioned above) you can be cited for equipment violations in another state even if they aren't violations where you live.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by jakflak View Post
              I may misunderstand that sentence, but the answer is once you enter into another state you enter their jurisdiction. It doesn't matter what the state laws are back home, it just matters what the state laws are where you are. In most cases (aside from the examples mentioned above) you can be cited for equipment violations in another state even if they aren't violations where you live.
              Right I understand that point where you cross the state line you are entering their jusidiction and what laws may apply to vehciles.

              I am still unclear about his example.

              Originally posted by StudChris
              I know that Texas requires a front plate. If I see a car with a rear plate showing Texas that doesn't have a front plate, he will be pulled over (because only showing one plate from a two plate state says a lot), and can be cited.
              But that is Texas law to require its vehicles to have front and rear plates. If they are in Florida (a one plate state) they are under that state's jurisdiction so if they only have the rear plate on what does it matter? They are still technically obeying Florida law arent they? This is why I asked how can StudChris write a violation for an offense he doesnt have jurisdiction over?

              I mean wouldnt it be similar to say if me being from Iowa was driving in Florida with an expired Iowa registration could I be stopped and cited for that?

              Sorry if I am not following your examples correctly however now you can see the confusion I have with this subject.
              Last edited by Jaguar57; 07-27-2007, 01:27 PM.

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              • #8
                Yes, I can and do cite for expired out of state registrations.

                Texas cannot cite a Florida car for only having 1 tag because Florida cars are only supposed to have one tag. Florida CAN cite Texas cars for only having one tag because Texas cars are supposed to have two tags.

                The law doesn't say "Cars driving in Florida only have to have 1 tag" it says "Cars REGISTED in Florida only have to have 1 tag", just like "cars REGISTERED in Texas have to have 2 tags", even if they're driving in Florida.

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                • #9
                  Ok.. Thanks StudChris, I am getting a better understanding of that example now.

                  What part of Florida code to you write the citation for?

                  So let me take one more spin on this. Are the states out there that are 2 plate states that you might travel through, even though you are regiesterd in a 1 plate state, you have to have 2 plates on your vehicle while in that state's jurisdiction? Or does it not go to that extreme case?

                  I think that 2nd example might have been at the root of my confusion.

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                  • #10
                    No... because it doesn't matter the laws of the state you're in, it matters the state your vehicle is registered to. We're beating a dead horse my friend.

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                    • #11
                      StudChris I do appreciate your time replying to my question.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Jaguar57 View Post
                        What part of Florida code to you write the citation for?
                        I'm still lost on this myself. I understand that the law is still in violation if a TX car is driving in FL with just one plate, and a cite can be issued. But I am curious as to how exactly that would be processed?

                        Does the FL LEO write it under Texas Law (of course, since that's what was broken) and submit it to Texas for processing? (i.e.: Points assessment if applicable, collection of fine, etc.)
                        Last edited by Iszi; 07-27-2007, 04:07 PM.
                        "I'm not afraid of loving my enemies...
                        I honestly want peace with you.
                        But when you come against my country,
                        When you come against my family,
                        You try to destroy my people,
                        I can't just stand by...
                        I am coming, and if I come, then
                        Pain is coming with me!"

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Iszi View Post
                          I'm still lost on this myself. I understand that the law is still in violation if a TX car is driving in FL with just one plate, and a cite can be issued. But I am curious as to how exactly that would be processed?

                          Does the FL LEO write it under Texas Law (of course, since that's what was broken) and submit it to Texas for processing? (i.e.: Points assessment if applicable, collection of fine, etc.)
                          316.605(1) Licensing of vehicles-
                          "Every vehicle at all times while driven, stopped, or parked shall... display the license plate or both of the license plates assigned to it by the state, one on the rear and, if two, the other on the front of the vehicle."

                          Basically, they get cited for improper display of tag.

                          Comment


                          • #14

                            Okay, here is a related question.

                            Suppose someone is a resident of Virginia, where two tags are required and every vehicle is supposed to have an annual state safety inspection sticker; but they are traveling through another state. The car has both tags (current year registration), but the inspection sticker has expired.

                            Do you stop them and issue a summons? If so, what code would you use to write them? For instance, could a NC trooper ticket a VA driver whose car had an expired inspection sticker?

                            I only recall one "non-resident" with an expired sticker (when stopped for another infraction) and was told by my FTO at the time that we in VA could not charge someone from out of state for not having a valid VA inspection sticker on their car. His reasoning was that a cop in VA cannot enforce a Pennsylvania or New York law.



                            The comments above reflect my personal opinion as a private citizen, ordinary motorist and all-around good guy.

                            The aforementioned advice should not be construed to represent any type of professional opinion, legal counsel or other type of instruction with regard to traffic laws, judicial proceedings or official agency policy.

                            ------------------------------------------------

                            "Ignorance on fire is hotter than knowledge on ice."

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by StudChris View Post
                              Yes, I can and do cite for expired out of state registrations.

                              Texas cannot cite a Florida car for only having 1 tag because Florida cars are only supposed to have one tag. Florida CAN cite Texas cars for only having one tag because Texas cars are supposed to have two tags.

                              The law doesn't say "Cars driving in Florida only have to have 1 tag" it says "Cars REGISTED in Florida only have to have 1 tag", just like "cars REGISTERED in Texas have to have 2 tags", even if they're driving in Florida.
                              Very well put. I could have used that on a few traffic stops
                              John 3:16

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