Being pulled over by police for an unlawful tag is often a pretext for a brief investigation of a driver to evaluate whether he or she might be under the influence of alcohol, drugs or both. Even if a driver hasn’t been consuming alcohol, or he or she hasn’t committed any moving violations since a police officer began observing their vehicle, any traffic stop is something more than a mere annoyance.
Swapping Tags or Stickers
In cases involving unlawful tags, there be a violation of the letter of the law. Then, there’s the gray area involving the spirit of the law and the subjective observations of the police officer who made the traffic stop. Florida Statutes 320.261 makes it a criminal offense when “Any person knowingly attaches to any motor vehicle or mobile home any registration license plate, or who knowingly attaches any validation sticker or mobile home sticker to a registration license plate, which plate or sticker was not issued and assigned or lawfully transferred to such vehicle, is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree…” A second-degree misdemeanor in Florida is punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a fine not to exceed $500.
Unlawful Tag Conviction Issue
Although it’s unlikely a maximum penalty would be imposed, an unlawful tag conviction would result in a permanent criminal record. That record can interfere with job, educational and housing opportunities. Defenses to section 320.261 exist. So, contact us if you’re charged with an unlawful tag violation of the statute, especially if you expect to have a security check coming up.
Unknowing Violations and Getting Framed
Just about everybody has border frames around their license plates. These might advertise the dealership that you bought your car at or show logos of sports teams or messages. Some of them even have clear or lightly tinted covers that go over license plates. Florida Statute 316.605(1) states not to place anything upon your plate that interferes with it being clear and legible. That includes your sticker too. What might be clear and legible to one police officer might not be to the next officer. That’s when we get into the spirit of the law and the subjectivity of a police officer. A judge may or may not agree with an officer.
Arrested for swapping plates or stickers on a vehicle? Contact RHINO Lawyers. Our criminal defense team can do a lot better than 60 days, $500 and a criminal conviction. On a plate frame charge, you stand a good chance of a judge tossing it when we’re representing you.