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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    2

    Unhappy Ticket for tinted cover on license plate

    I recently received a ticket for using a tinted cover over the liscence plate. I wonder if I should fight this $125 ticket. Here's some facts about the situation.
    1. I've had this tinted (grayish) on my plate for the past 7 years with no incidents.
    2. I have no illegal motive for this cover, just for vanity. My plate is also personalized.
    3. I did not know it was illegal. I started noticing that a lot of people have this cover on their plates.
    4. I was pulled over strictly for this, and nothing else (no traffic violation, etc.).

    Please advise if I should fight this ticket. It's also $125!

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    CALIFORNIA
    Posts
    83

    Default Re: Ticket for tinted cover on plate!!!

    What state are you in and what is the exact vehicle code violation you were cited for. In any case, here are my generic thoughts

    1. Irrelevant. You've just been lucky the past 7 years.
    2. Irrelevant as well.
    3. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse.
    4. If it's against the law, a traffic violation is not necessary or required in order to get cited for this.

    With that said, it's difficult to fight without knowing what violation you were cited for. I think it would be very difficult to fight, but still worth fighting on the chance the officer might not show up. Maybe you change court venues.

    Other than that - I've got nothing.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    28,625

    Default Re: Ticket for tinted cover on plate!!!

    If it's not a fix-it ticket (one that can be dismissed if you can show that the repair has been made), if you set up a formal hearing (procedures vary by state) you may be able to convince the prosecutor to dismiss the ticket by demonstrating that you fixed the problem.

    (Check procedures for your state to see if a prosecutor would be present at the hearing, and if the officer is required to appear. In states where the officer must appear, it is also possible to get a dismissal if the officer does not show up in court.)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Ticket for tinted cover on plate!!!

    Thanks for your responses. I am in Michigan and the ticket was written up for obstruction of plates, with a description of tinted cover. I've been pulled over before for various traffic violations (at least 5 times.. but never ticketed) and this tinted cover has never been brought up.

    I know that ignorance of the law is no excuse but where can I even look up to see whether having "tinted cover" is against the law? If I didn't know that this was illegal, how many more things am I violating without knowing.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    28,625

    Default Re: Ticket for tinted cover on plate!!!

    This is probably the statute the officer cited:
    Quote Quoting 257.225 Registration plate; attachment to vehicle; legibility; color; distinctive registration plates; name plate, insignia, or advertising device prohibited; violation as civil infraction.
    (1) A registration plate issued for a vehicle shall be attached to the rear of the vehicle. Except that a registration plate issued for a truck tractor or road tractor shall be attached to the front of that vehicle.

    (2) A registration plate shall at all times be securely fastened in a horizontal position to the vehicle for which the plate is issued so as to prevent the plate from swinging. The plate shall be attached at a height of not less than 12 inches from the ground, measured from the bottom of the plate, in a place and position which is clearly visible. The plate shall be maintained free from foreign materials that obscure or partially obscure the registration information, and in a clearly legible condition.

    (3) A registration plate or the expiration tab on the registration plate shall be of a different color designated by the secretary of state with a marked contrast between the color of the registration plate and the numerals or letters on the plate. The secretary of state may provide a distinctive registration plate as a replacement for a standard plate. To honor a special or historical event, the secretary of state may provide a commemorative plate as a replacement for a standard plate.

    (4) A person shall not attach a name plate, insignia, or advertising device to a motor vehicle registration plate in a manner which obscures or partially obscures the registration information.

    (5) A person shall not operate a motor vehicle which has a name plate, insignia, or advertising device attached to a motor vehicle registration plate in a manner which obscures or partially obscures the registration information.

    (6) A person who violates this section is responsible for a civil infraction.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Ontario
    Posts
    174

    Default Re: Ticket for tinted cover on license plate

    If this statute is correct, I would suggest that your tinted cover IS legal. To obscure (or partially obscure) the plate must surely mean to prevent portions of the numbers from being viewed. Take a pic of your plates showing that all the info is legible to other motorists and show the court. The fact that these covers are available everywhere clearly would lead one to believe they are legal.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    28,625

    Default Re: Ticket for tinted cover on license plate

    I suspect that the defense that the plate wasn't obstructed would work better with a clear plate cover than with one which is tinted. But if I were trying to fight the ticket in court, that's an argument I would attempt (backed up by some photos showing the same plate covers on sale at various local auto parts stores).

    There does not appear to be any Michigan case law treating that portion of the statute.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    CALIFORNIA
    Posts
    83

    Default Re: Ticket for tinted cover on license plate

    Note the time the ticket was issued and what kind of day it was.

    Take a picture of your license plate at approximately the same time of day under similar weather condtions and varying distances.

    Show that the plate was "clearly legible" and that the cover does not obscure registration information. If it was partially obscured, you should not be able to see the registration information or part of the plate.

    Officer may argue that it's obscured during the evening time, but

    1. The ticket was not issued in the eveninging time
    2. Officer is a witness to the day time event, not any presumed evening event
    3. Officer isn't an attorney, so he shouldn't be making that argument anyway (at least, I don't think they can make that argument here in California).

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    14,537

    Default Re: Ticket for tinted cover on license plate

    Quote Quoting Keydo
    Officer may argue that it's obscured during the evening time, but

    1. The ticket was not issued in the eveninging time
    2. Officer is a witness to the day time event, not any presumed evening event
    3. Officer isn't an attorney, so he shouldn't be making that argument anyway (at least, I don't think they can make that argument here in California).
    Correct, in CA that argument wouldn't fly. And, I'm guessing, that it won't fly there either. Those plate covers (tinted or not) regularly obscure the numbers when the sun reflects off of them. Plus, many of them obscure the plate at the bottom confusing letters such as 'E' and 'F" or 'I' and 'T'.

    - Carl
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

    "Make mine a double mocha ...
    And a croissant!"


    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: Ticket for tinted cover on license plate

    The fact that these covers are available everywhere clearly would lead one to believe they are legal.
    Just beacuse they are legal to BUY, doesn't mean you can legally put it on your car. For instance here in Michigan ... you can legally put tint on your windows. However, it is illegal to have tint on the front windshield or front door windows.

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