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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was riding at the dragon and got flagged to pull over by a Tennessee State Police officer. I obliged, he apparently had watched me do a pass before and went on to tell me that the placement of my license plate is illegal in TN. I said to him, "I do not live in TN, I live in SC. In SC, my bike is 100% legal." He then went on to say that if I was going to be in the area I was going to have to mount my plate differently and wrote me a citation for "registration violation".

My issue is that where I live and where my bike is licensed, registered, and tagged is South Carolina. From what I understand about the law is that unless I have been in the state for 30 days a LEO can only wrote a citation for a moving violation or safety violation.


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I'm waiting for jbs and his "you did the crime...pay the fine" hehe.

MAybe you can contest with a written argument.
 

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Call a traffic lawyer in TN and see if they'll clairify for you over the phone. Or call the district attorney's office (or similar). They should know the law. Google searches will help.

After you've clarified, write a well write letter of appeal citing your evidence, including proof the plate is mounted legally in SC.

I've had good luck with written appeals in the past, when it was to far to appeal personally. Just make sure it's well written, read's well, and has no spelling/grammatical errors.
 

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9/10 times at least people will just pay the fine thats why the police LOVE to pull over out of state plates because when they get challenged in court it look bad on them i +1 the write the DA and if that dosnt work hire a local lawyer it will prob cost $60-90 but ive had 3 tickets in the past few years a couple i was honestly at fault but all were dismissed.
 

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I think you've received some good advice...and yes, cops like to write tickets to out-of-state people knowing full well that its difficult to fight. But you can fight it...now that we have moved into the "electronic" mail age. Find out what the law is...
 

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The ticket should have a specific code violation, what is it?
According to this, a first time plate violation would only be $10:

http://state.tn.us/commerce/boards/mvc/law.shtml

55-4-110. Display of registration plates -- Manner -- Penalty for violation.

(a) The registration plate issued for passenger motor vehicles shall be attached on the rear of the vehicle. The registration plate issued for those trucks with a manufacturer's ton rating not exceeding three-quarter (3/4) ton and having a panel or pickup body style, and also those issued for all motor homes, regardless of ton rating or body style thereof, shall be attached to the rear of the vehicle. The registration plate issued for all other trucks and truck tractors shall be attached to the front of the vehicle. All dealers' plates, as provided in § 55-4-221, and those registration plates issued for motorcycles, trailers or semitrailers shall be attached to the rear of the vehicle.

(b) Every registration plate shall at all times be securely fastened in a horizontal position to the vehicle for which it is issued so to prevent the plate from swinging and at a height of not less than twelve inches (12'') from the ground, measuring from the bottom of the plate, in a place and position to be clearly visible and shall be maintained free from foreign materials and in a condition to be clearly legible; provided, if a motorcycle is equipped with vertically mounted license plate brackets, its license plate shall be mounted vertically with the top of such license plate fastened along the right vertical edge. No tinted materials may be placed over a license plate even if the information upon the license plate is not concealed.

(c) (1) A violation of this section is a Class C misdemeanor. All proceeds from the fines imposed by this subsection (c) shall be deposited in the state general fund.

(2) A person charged with a violation of this section may, in lieu of appearance in court, submit a fine of ten dollars ($10.00) for a first violation, and twenty dollars ($20.00) on second and subsequent violations to the clerk of the court that has jurisdiction of the offense within the county in which the offense charged is alleged to have been committed.
However I personally believe it shouldn't even apply, since you're from out of state. But I couldn't find anything that supported that. Like all laws, reading through the TN code is a headache :facepalm:
 

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Was there anything illegal about the pass? Ie, did he have a reason to pull you over first, then discovered the plate issue? If not, there may be additional grounds to fight the charge there as well. Police are not normally authorized to pull people over without cause, just so they can search for wrongdoing.
 

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Was there anything illegal about the pass? Ie, did he have a reason to pull you over first, then discovered the plate issue? If not, there may be additional grounds to fight the charge there as well. Police are not normally authorized to pull people over without cause, just so they can search for wrongdoing.
Illegaly placed license plate would be "cause".
 

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How he describes it though is he said the plate is illegally placed for the state in the first place.

I got pulled over for speeding once and I knew I was going the limit. At that point though your at their mercy (if you don't have a helmet cam like the Texas guy). He told me right away that he pulled me for speeding, to which I replied "no I wasn't, I know exactly how fast I was going" he said "yeah you were give me your license and registration" At that point I could argue and turn it into a knee in the back of my neck and an evening in the clink or give him what he asked. So I gave him my license and reg. He came back handed me my stuff and said have nice night and next time slow down. I'll admit it probably wasn't the wisest thing but I said "I wasn't speeding though" He yelled "SLOW DOWN" Moral of the story, they'll make up a reason to pull you over if need be. The cop in Texas did it totally wrong. He could have given him a reason to pull him first..............then asked for the cam (still not legal as far as I know).
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
There were plenty of other riders there alerting me to the LEO's position on the tail so I was going the speed limit when I passed them both times. I think you guys are right that he was just looking for easy prey.

My plate is illegal for TN but I don't reside in and my bike is not registered in TN, so it shouldn't have been an issue.

I looked up the license plate mounting rules for SC and my plate fits all of them:

If vertically mounted the state name must be on the right side of the plate. The bottom of the plate must be no less than 12" from the ground and it must be lit and visible.
 

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My plate is illegal for TN but I don't reside in and my bike is not registered in TN, so it shouldn't have been an issue.
It doesn't matter that you are from OOS. Your equipment is not an exception to their rules. Check the rules of the state you will be traveling in, the equipment must comply or it is illegal to use in that state.
 

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People with Indiana plates drive in IL with tinted and windows and no front plate all the time. IL plates and you'll be pulled over right away.
 

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Well it's up to the officer whether to enforce his interpretation of the law, even if you don't think it's correct. So now you have to jump through the hoops to get out of it. Sucks....YES. I think you should try the written letter and maybe a picture of it. Good chance they'll let it go, I would think.
 

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If it's legal to not wear a helmet in SC would you willingly ride into a state with mandatory helmet laws while not wearing a helmet and expect not to get a ticket?

Just asking. :p
 

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You have to follow the laws of the state you're riding in, your home state laws don't come with you. Like tint, if you live in Florida but are driving through Virginia, the VA sate troopers can (and sometimes will) ticket you.

Silver lining - if he'd ticketed you for an illegal pass, the going rate right now is $247.
 
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