Check Those Plate Lights and Minimize the Potential for an Unwanted DWI Stop

Hello everyone.

In a brief intermission to my series of posts on the gymnastics and juggling that precede a boating while intoxicated ("BWI") arrest, I want to remind everyone that they should check their brake lights, plate lights, and other lighting, as well as their inspection stickers and license plates, to avoid some unwanted interaction with police. The cheesiest of motor vehicle stops begin with a passive equipment violation such as those I've just mentioned. In these types of stops, the driver is not exhibiting any signs of impairment. The driver may be obeying the speed limit, maintaining appropriate lane control, and otherwise following every rule of the road, but he finds himself in the flashing blue glow of police lighting wondering why he was stopped.

The high number of stops for equipment violations in recent years is not because the police have taken a sudden interest in the functioning of plate lights, or their concern for whether drivers are using turn signals late at night when there is no one else on the road to signal. Rather, the police have a broader goal: the police have co-opted the motor vehicle code to fight the war on drugs, and many DWI arrests ensue after these stops when the police can't find any drugs after the stop.

Avoid giving the police a chance to legally stop you by making sure that all your lights are functioning, your registration and inspection stickers are up to date, and your license is valid.

Have a safe weekend.


PS-I will resume the posts on the "floating field sobriety tests" used by police during "boating while intoxicated" next week.





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