The Piercing Truth

This is right from the dictionary and seems to describe Albuquerque, Berry and Schultz. Fascism (f ash ,izem) noun An authoritarian right wing system of government and/or social organization. (in general use) extreme right wing, authoritarian, chauvinistic and/or intolerant views or practices. Fascism tends to include a belief in the supremacy of one group over another, national, ethnic, especially social strata or monetarily; a contempt for democracy, an insistence on obedience to a powerful leader, and a strong demagogic approach. Compliments of one of our Eyes

May 9, 2007

Making Up the Rules as You Go

Deputy Busted Over Plate!
(We had to add the exclamation point)

So declares Wednesday's Albuquerque Journal (Subscription Required).
The first line of the front page top of the fold story reads "[i]t didn't take a red-light camera to catch a Bernalillo County sheriff's deputy breaking the law." Seems that a nefarious Bernalillo County Sheriff's Deputy has been caught with one of the plate covers that make viewing the license plate underneath difficult for Marty's scam-era system.

So what's the problem? Well, we can't find a law that was broken - if the cover in question was similar to the ones we've seen so much of around Albuquerque. According to the State of New Mexico traffic code:
66-3-14 B. Each registration plate shall have a background of reflective material such that the registration number assigned to the vehicle is plainly legible from a distance of one hundred feet at night. The colors shall include those of the state flag, except prestige and special plates.
Or if you prefer:
66-3-18 A. The registration plate shall be attached to the rear of the vehicle for which it is issued; however, the registration plate shall be attached to the front of a road tractor or truck tractor. The plate shall be securely fastened at all times in a fixed horizontal position at a height of not less than twelve inches from the ground, measuring from the bottom of the plate. It shall be in a place and position so as to be clearly visible, and it shall be maintained free from foreign material and in a condition to be clearly legible.
Now we're not an attorney, but it looks pretty obvious to us that the New Mexico traffic code doesn't say a thing about protective covers for license plates as long as the registration number is clearly visible from a distance of 150 feet.

A few months back we seem to remember APD spokesman John Walsh claiming that the license plate cover and sprays were ineffective when pitted against the superior technology of Marty's red light scam-eras. Well, well, well... looks like we were being treated to a bit of mis-information from APD's public information officer.

Now they're trying to make us buy that plate covers are illegal. We told you that APD was trying to "crack down" on all of those sinister drivers utilizing the scam-era invisibility shields. In fact they cited section 66-3-18 as the basis of their enforcement. Read the traffic code for yourself... where exactly does it prohibit license plate covers?
(Sidebar)
One of our Eye readers emailed us and let us know about APD's "enforcement" effort. They received a ticket (the first we've heard of) from an officer and plans to fight the citation in court. We asked them to let us know how the judge rules.
(End Sidebar)
It's obvious that Marty's scam-eras are seeing an awful lot of these plate covers and their use is cutting into revenue. It's also obvious that revenue concerns are now driving law enforcement. So what if we don't even have a law that prohibits the use of the plate covers... we'll just "enforce" the law the way we want to. Who needs legislatures, or even courts for that matter... we've got money to make!

We hope Sheriff White has the good sense not to discipline the deputy involved, particularly if his license plate was plainly visible from 100 feet at night as is required by law. In fact, we would suggest making the plate covers standard issue for those deputies that spend any time driving through Martyville.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

The part of the code that makes them Illegal is where it states "free from foreign material". This is the wording used by higher courts to determine plate covers as Illegal. This would technically include any cover of any type.

Anonymous said...

I never used a plate cover until my registration tag was stolen. It makes it harder to steal. And probably wouldn't do a damn thing toward blocking it from Marty's money makers.....

Anonymous said...

Foreign material: Made in any other country other than the USA. Buy American and argue the point in court.


The really bad thing about getting WD-40 on anything is that it has this really appalling way of catching the dust particles which seem to be so plentiful in Albuquerque and I seem to just be forever cleaning my license plate cover.

Anonymous said...

The part of the code that makes them Illegal is where it states "free from foreign material".

You could be right, but some covers don't actually touch the plate and your assertion doesn't explain how you can legally display a plate in the rear window of a vehicle, but not behind a protective cover.

This may end up being an argument over angles of view.

The only citation I know of, issued by a state trooper, was thrown out before it ever got to trial because the court couldn't figure out what was being charged.

Anonymous said...

Whenever I free mine from foreign material, it falls off. Talkin' 'bout a plate, that is.

Anonymous said...

Yeah...I bet a lot of other people have that same problem and it is even more illegal I do believe to drive that foreign material without a license plate affixed to it in some way. This could get really interesting with everyone trying to come up with various ways to obey the law while avoiding the foreign material issue. But, where are these plates actually made...are they foreign material in and of themselves...we could be getting into some deep s*** here.

Anonymous said...

What kind of example for your children are you setting when you are looking for every possible excuse there is for the ability to run red lights or speed? Your kids must be the biggest excuse makers! "I didn't do it!" "Everyone else is doing it!" "You didn't see me do it, so you have no right to suspend me!"

I love my Army values... one of them is to do the right thing even when no one is looking... INTEGRITY.

"Don't shop at convenience stores because they have cameras to prevent/catch those who want to steal!"

Anonymous said...

Sooo...whos army were you in?

Anonymous said...

First of all, thank you for your service.

As to:
"What kind of example for your children are you setting..."

Not to blindly, unquestioningly follow authority. To work within the system to get bad laws changed and to use legal options available to thwart the abuse of authority. (not in favor of pole crashing, although amusing in theory)

"...for every possible excuse there is for the ability to run red lights or speed?"

If you really believe that's what all this is about, you've missed the point entirely. You've failed to understand the fundamental issues and opposing viewpoints. No one ever brings up "the joys of light running and speeding" as reasons to oppose the cameras. I have only heard that from the pro-camera faction in labeling the other side. It's a BS, red-herring waste of words. At least try something original or on topic.

Safety- check
Red light running bad- check
Speeding bad- check, no argument

Making up some BS process that the contractor told you about (that's been thrown out in many other states) to make "civil" penalities out of motor vehicle violation laws already on the books (and the city doesn't gather enough evidence so these would even stand-up as motor vehicle violations).- Albuquerque, we have a problem

Anonymous said...

Sorry folks, I hate to remind you that there is ALSO a City Traffic Ordinance regarding License Plate Covers: Read it & pay your fines!
8-6-4 LICENSE PLATES.
(A) It shall be unlawful for any person to park or to operate a motor vehicle on a roadway unless there is attached to the rear thereof, a license plate for the current license year, unless the state of issuance requires two license plates, in which case such plate shall be affixed to the vehicle as provided by law of the state of issuance; such license plate or plates to be maintained free of dirt, emblems, trailer hitches, or any other obstruction so that the color, state of issuance, years and license number or letters thereon are clearly visible.

(B) No person shall display upon a vehicle any registration evidence, registration plate, or permit not issued for such vehicle or not otherwise lawfully issued.

(C) No person shall display upon a vehicle a license plate altered from its original markings.

Anonymous said...

Are we receiving notification of these fines via photo citation or is a real live police officer going to take time out of his or her very busy day and hand us our citation? If I am cited by a real live police officer, I will pay any fine imposed otherwise nope, nope, nope, not unless they turn me upside down and shake the dust from my pockets.

Anonymous said...

I cant believe that some whiney little chick with a badge would even waste the time to write a chicken scat ticket like that at all, let alone cite another sheepdog!!! There is no honor left in the guild. Good luck, ABQ, Marty and Ray have given you the illusion of security. Not the reality of it.
-Jeremy2

Anonymous said...

3 posts up, you can have a plate cover as long as you can see the plate at night from 100 ft away. Did you miss that part?
And as for the deputy? I am sure that his cover was not on his car to foil the red light cameras, duh, he only has the unit number all over the damned thing, so what good would it do?

michelle meaders said...

Maybe he was trying to see if the plate covers worked.

Anonymous said...

I don't think any one of us living in this city harbors any illusion of security. I think we are all quite aware of how the criminal element has completely taken over this town. As for the deputy, the county owns the car...if they couldn't figure out exactly who to pin a citation on I guess that would mean they as the owner of the vehicle would be held responsible and would have to pay would it not? Maybe they could try to argue the point with the city. I think the deputy probably was only trying to take some pride in the appearance of his vehicle and was only trying to do nothing more than attempting to keep that nasty old foreign material from getting all over his license plate. :)

Anonymous said...

3 Posts up, there is nothing in the City Ord. covering license plates about 100 ft. The entire ord. on license plates is listed above.....There is no exception that allows covers or addresses the 100 ft. Sorry

Anonymous said...

Yep...looks like you are right on that one. I couldn't find anything related to a 100 ft anywhere although I have been hearing the 100 ft rule a lot lately.

Anonymous said...

this is where we read it
"We hope Sheriff White has the good sense not to discipline the deputy involved, particularly if his license plate was plainly visible from 100 feet at night as is required by law. In fact, we would suggest making the plate covers standard issue for those deputies that spend any time driving through Martyville."

Anonymous said...

And here:
66-3-14. Registration plates or validating stickers to be furnished by department; reflective material.
A. The department upon registering a vehicle shall issue a registration plate or a validating sticker to the owner of the vehicle. The validating sticker may be designed and required to be placed on the registration plate or elsewhere on the vehicle as prescribed by the department.

B. Each registration plate shall have a background of reflective material such that the registration number assigned to the vehicle is plainly legible from a distance of one hundred feet at night. The colors shall include those of the state flag, except prestige and special plates.

C. Each registration plate shall have displayed upon it:

(1) the registration number assigned to the person to whom it was issued; and

(2) the name of this state.
D. The department shall issue no registration plates for privately owned vehicles that contain the words "staff officer" or any other title except as otherwise provided by law.

E. All registration plates for private vehicles shall be alike in form except for the owner's registration number. The department shall adopt registration number systems for registration plates.
F. In lieu of or in addition to a registration plate or sticker for commercial motor vehicles, the department may issue an electronic identifying device.

And there it is.....

Anonymous said...

one is city
one is state

Anonymous said...

"They" are using both, that's why....

Anonymous said...

License plates in rear windows are NOT legal, but are not enforced. The reason is that the law requires the plate to be illuminated. That's why you CAN be cited for a burned out license plate bulb!!! :)

Anonymous said...

Sheriff White did not have the good sense not to discipline the Deputy, in fact the Deputy was disciplined.

Anonymous said...

"License plates in rear windows are NOT legal, but are not enforced. The reason is that the law requires the plate to be illuminated. That's why you CAN be cited for a burned out license plate bulb!!! :)"

Good point in most cases; however, that goes to lighting, not rear window.
So if a plate is illuminated (at night) in your rear window, is it legal if it meets the following? I say yes.

Albuquerque Ord. 8-6-10 (C) Either a tail lamp or a separate lamp shall be so constructed and placed as to illuminate with a white light the rear registration plate and render it clearly legible from a distance of at least 50 feet to the rear. Any tail lamp or tail lamps, together with any separate lamp for illuminating the rear registration plate, shall be so wired as to be lighted whenever the headlamps or auxiliary driving lamps are lighted.

I have not found anywhere in state or city code that negates window glass or a cover.

A related but different point to those so sure this is illegal: these refractive covers display the plate clearly from directly behind and to about 45-60 degrees either side. For all legitimate enforcement purposes (I exclude RLCams), the plate is clean, legible and free from foreign material within a 90-130 degree viewing angle (one an actual human would be able to use). You get less than 180 degrees uncovered in NM anyway (no req. for front plates).

The arguments will come down to viewing angles, which I cannot find the law specifically addresses. It then becomes judicial interpretation.

I don't either side has a slam dunk. Take it to court and let a REAL judge decide. Sorry, right back at ya.

Anonymous said...

I have to go to court for 66-3-18. I got cited under state law, not city ordinance. If 8-6-4 city license plate ordinance were applied I would have gotten cited for it. Even then, it says nothing about license plate covers.

On top of that, I got my plate confiscated. I think it is an illegal seizure of my property. It is not illegal to possess, and it is unclear if it is illegal to have on a vehicle, so why did he confiscate it from me?

When I go to court, I hope to get some answers...