Newsflash: Painting your car in America is not illegal (yet)Submitted by Diamond Dog on Sat, 01/05/2013 - 18:46
Florida: Changing Car Color Does Not Justify Traffic Stop
Florida Court of Appeal rules repainted cars should not be automatically subject to traffic stops.
Found in The Newspaper
This became an issue on June 22, 2010 when an Escambia County Deputy Sheriff saw a bright green Chevy. The deputy ran the plate and the record showed the vehicle was registered to a blue Chevy. The deputy initiated a traffic stop, and Kerick Van Teamer, the driver, explained his car had recently been painted. A search turned up drugs leading to Teamer's arrest. Teamer sought to suppress the evidence because he never should have been pulled over in the first place.
The sole issue before the court was whether a traffic stop can be based on a mismatch between a car's color and what is listed on the vehicle registration. Prosecutors argued the difference in color should be investigated as potential illegal activity of making a false statement on a vehicle registration. The First District judges agreed the discrepancy raises potential for concern, but they did not agree it would be enough to justify a stop.
"Changing the color of a vehicle is not illegal, and the state does not require an owner to report the change in color to the DHSMV [Department of Highway Safety, Motor Vehicles Division]," Judge James R. Wolf wrote for the three-judge panel. "The question then is what degree of suspicion attaches to this particular noncriminal act?"
Read all about it in The Newspaper