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  1. #1
    coach32 is offline Junior Member
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    Georgia traffic stop legality and expired registration

    What is the name of your state? Georgia
    My wife was stopped while on the way to work last month by a Dekalb County policeman.
    She was surprised to be stopped while getting on an entrance ramp to 1-285. The officer was very nice and spent some time checking her Drivers Licence and gave her a ticket for expired registration--violation of code 40-2-8 of State Law.
    We had received letters due to a lapse in paying our auto insurance however we were fully covered at the time of the stop as we are now. Apparently this was our 2nd lapse--though both were for a very short time--a week or 2, I believe.

    My first question is regarding the actual stop and the legality issue. The officer did not say why, or note anything other than the expired registration. She was not speeding, did not commit any other violation that she was aware of, had a current license plate & tag sticker, etc.
    Shouldn't there be a reason for stopping someone and was this a legal stop?
    When we go to court should we ask that the case be dismissed for that reason?
    Our funds are tight and we have no way to pay a fine right now. I called the phone number on the ticket which gives the fine amount--$180.00--if paid in advance and pleading guilty. However just wondering how to handle when we go to court--plead not guilty and ask that the case be dismissed due to illegal stop or? Also what happens if that doesnt work & we have to pay a fine--do we get a certain time to pay this or? Thanks for any help and/or suggestions..
  2. #2
    The Occultist is offline Senior Member
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    You don't know why the officer made the stop, and he is under no obligation to share that with your wife. That being said, the officer also could have run her plates and found that her registration was no longer valid, for whatever reason. Just because your insurance was then current does not mean the DMV recognized that and automatically renewed the registration, so it is still very possible that your wife should not have been driving the vehicle at that time.

    Based on your post, I do not see any reason for the ticket to be dismissed, but your wife may, however, see some leniency from the court if she shows up with proof that she is completely in compliance with the law.
  3. #3
    Curt581 is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by coach32 View Post
    The officer did not say why, or note anything other than the expired registration. She was not speeding, did not commit any other violation that she was aware of, had a current license plate & tag sticker, etc.
    If the registration was expired, how is it the license plate tag/sticker was current?
  4. #4
    The Occultist is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curt581 View Post
    If the registration was expired, how is it the license plate tag/sticker was current?
    In some situations, if one were to lapse on their insurance payments (which effectively cancels their policy until repayment begins), the insurance company will alert the DMV and the DMV will suspend the vehicle's registration until insurance is current.
  5. #5
    coach32 is offline Junior Member
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    Thumbs up Case Dismissed!

    Thanks for all your responses. We went to court and decided to plead not guilty. The judge was pretty tough from watching the other cases but we were fortunate. We had all our papers-- current registration, insurance etc. and she looked on her computer and asked if we had the current registration. We did and my wife showed it to her--and case dismissed! Not sure for what reason but didn't hang around to ask.. My wife didn't see or recognize the officer in court-that could be the reason-she was prepared to ask why she was stopped and do think she did have a right to know the answer. There has been much P.R. locally regarding running someones license plates without valid cause, and this might have been the reason also. I think you have to have probable cause to stop someone and there was no reason to in this case as the tag was current, there was no traffic violation, this was a.m. rush hour on a major highway & was not any kind of license check, etc.
    Thanks again for your input..
  6. #6
    TimothyB is offline Junior Member
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    Most likely the reason the case was dismissed is because the officer did not show up to court.
    There is no reasonable expectation of privacy for your license plate, and as such Law Enforcement can run the license plate at will. As a result, if they check your registration and something comes back missing then that gives the officer probably cause for a traffic stop.

    Thompson v. State, __ S.E.2d __, 2007 WL 4374024 (Ga. App.).
    Last edited by TimothyB; 09-23-2008 at 12:44 PM. Reason: .
  7. #7
    cyjeff is offline Senior Member
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    Georgia has also recently implemented a database linking your plates to your current insured status.

    So a cop running plates could have found out quickly that you don't have insurance.

    And they are allowed to run plates on passing cars all they want.
  8. #8
    coach32 is offline Junior Member
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    re: Ga traffic stop

    Thanks for the reply--luck is good sometimes!

    Quote Originally Posted by TimothyB View Post
    Most likely the reason the case was dismissed is because the officer did not show up to court.
    There is no reasonable expectation of privacy for your license plate, and as such Law Enforcement can run the license plate at will. As a result, if they check your registration and something comes back missing then that gives the officer probably cause for a traffic stop.

    Thompson v. State, __ S.E.2d __, 2007 WL 4374024 (Ga. App.).
  9. #9
    coach32 is offline Junior Member
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    re: Insurance wasn't the issue

    [B]
    Insurance wasn't a problem--I did have insurance and was current--
    I'm aware of the insurance database though it's not new--the Geics Insurance Database is several years old..


    Quote Originally Posted by cyjeff View Post
    Georgia has also recently implemented a database linking your plates to your current insured status.

    So a cop running plates could have found out quickly that you don't have insurance.

    And they are allowed to run plates on passing cars all they want.
    Last edited by coach32; 09-29-2008 at 11:13 AM. Reason: typo

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