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  1. #1
    hiddenagenda Guest

    Expired Reguistration/Inspection

    What is the name of your state? PA

    On 12/14 I drove an unregistered and uninspected vehicle within the commonwealth. The expiration date for both the registration and inspection was 10/03. My reasoning for not registering the vehicle is as follows:

    I was in an accident with the vehicle for which it was deemed totaled. I bought the vehicle back from the insurance company and I was informed by certified mail that I would need to apply for a salvage title. In addition, I was ill-informed that I could not register the vehicle until I applied for and received this title. I could not get an inspection on the vehicle because of the expired registration.

    The details of my police stop are as follows:

    I was driving my vehicle when a police car passed me going in the opposite direction. I watched the police vehicle make a turn around in a parking lot of a local business. I was going pretty slow but the officer stayed pretty far back from my vehicle. I would estimate the distance to be between 15-20 vehicle lengths. When I put my turn signal on to turn into my driveway the officer put his lights on. He proceeded to follow me into said driveway. I exited the vehicle at which point the officer approached me. He asked me for my license and vehicle registration. I provided him with my license and insurance information from the glovebox of my car. I then proceeded to tell him that I could not provide him with the registration info because it had expired. He said, "Oh, your registration is expired." He then went to the back of my vehicle to verify that my sticker was expired. He said that the reason he had pulled me over is that he had noticed my vehicle inspection had expired when he passed me. I feel this to be technically impossible as the sticker was obscured by ice that I had failed to scrape from my vehicle windshield. He also asked me why I had failed to stop immediately after he put his lights on; even though the distance from when he put his lights on to the time I entered my driveway was about 1/30 of a mile. On that note he told me to get into and remain in my vehicle. About 45 min. later he handed me a ticket for PAVC 1301A (Driving Unregistered Vehicle on Highway) and PAVC 4703(9) (Operation of Vehicle without Official Certificate of Inspection).

    Now while I am obviously guilty of these charges, I dispute whether the officer had the right to pull me over. I do not believe the officer could of visually determined that my vehicle inspection sticker had expired because of the ice that covered the edges of my windshield as well as the weather conditions. I also do not believe he noticed my vehicle registration sticker had expired because he both acted surprised when I informed him of the expiration of my registration and he had to view my license plate to verify the expiration. I live in a small boro with 2 police cars and about 5 police officers. My feeling is that they had beforehand knowledge of the expiration of my inspection as I usually reverse into my driveway which would leave my inspection sticker visible from the street.

    Some closing questions for the forum:

    Do I have any sort of case to plead not guilty?

    If I plead not guilty and get found not guilty, what kind of leniency can I expect from the court? I am struggling to support my family on a sub-20,000 household income and these fines will only make my situation worse.

    Let's play devil's advocate. Let's say the officer was able to see my inspection sticker. Can someone direct me to the paragraph of the law that gives an officer the ability to pull me over for an expired inspection sticker?

    In closing, you'll all be happy to know that I was able to successfully log onto the state's website that night and apply for a registration renewal. I then used the temp. registration renewal to get my vehicle inspected today.
  2. #2
    JETX is offline Senior Member
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    "Do I have any sort of case to plead not guilty?"
    *** Based on your post, no.

    "If I plead not guilty and get found not guilty, what kind of leniency can I expect from the court?"
    *** No one can answer that question for you. It is simply too vague and depends largely on the 'personality' of the court and prosecutor.

    "I am struggling to support my family on a sub-20,000 household income and these fines will only make my situation worse."
    *** That concern should have been considered BEFORE the decision to risk the ticket by driving the ininspected, uninsured vehicle.

    "Let's play devil's advocate. Let's say the officer was able to see my inspection sticker. Can someone direct me to the paragraph of the law that gives an officer the ability to pull me over for an expired inspection sticker?"
    *** The officer can pull you over for ANY noticed violation. He doesn't need 'special' permission.
  3. #3
    dequeendistress is offline Senior Member
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    The officer had probable cause to stop you. Which is all s/he needed.
    Last edited by dequeendistress; 12-16-2003 at 02:49 PM.
  4. #4
    abezon is offline Senior Member
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    Just thought I'd give you the ex-prosecutor's take on this case, since I've lost these kinds of cases on appeal.

    You don't have any defense against the tickets, so your only hope is to get them tossed. You can only do that if you can show that the stop was illegal. No reasonable suspicion to stop the car = no cause to run the registration = no ticket.

    To pull you over, the officer has to have seen evidence of a crime/traffic infraction. The officer stated that he saw an expired inspection tag; you say it was obscured by ice. Did you take a picture of the windshield with ice on it? The ideal picture would be one taken that day. Otherwise, you can offer a picture for illustrative purposes, to show the placement of the tag & that you don't scrape that area.

    How could the officer determine at a glance that the tag was expired? Are they color coded?

    Is it illegal to drive with an obscured inspection tag? That would give him PC to pull you over regardless of whether he thought the tag was expired.

    Another possible argument is that he kept you stopped too long. I don't know the PA law, but in Washington, a cop can stop you long enough to check license, registration & insurance, & run a wants & warrants check. Any delay beyond that renders the stop unlawful. This is established by statute; you'll have to see if PA has a similar law.

    Since it took the officer 45 minutes to write out 2 tickets, i suspect something else was going on. My guess would be that police were on the lookout for a car like yours that was involved in a crime & the cop stopped you for that reason. If that was the case, you probably lose.

    Contact the prosecuting attorney & try to work out a plea bargain with traffic school or community service. Maybe the prosecutor will be feeling happy because she got all her Christmas shopping done early. And don't drive the car again.
    This post does not constitute legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. Postings are based only on the information provided and you should consult an attorney in your area before relying on information contained in this post.

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