$1,000 Fine for Flashing Headlights to Warn Motorists of Cops – Lawsuit Follows

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Amanda Warren
      AP

Did you know that you could be fined for flashing your headlights to warn other people of speed traps? Police who are hiding in wait, do not appreciate headlight whistleblowers.

This leads to the question – Is flashing your lights a part of free speech?

$1,000 Fine for Flashing Headlights to Warn Motorists of Cops - Lawsuit Follows

 

 

The question is meaningful to Michael Elli of Missouri who did what most of us have done on the road – flashed his headlights to warn oncoming drivers of a cop waiting around the corner to catch motorists in a speed trap. In Ellisville, MO, he had no idea he was doing something “illegal.”

He was surprised to receive a ticket for obstruction of justice – with it, a $1,000 fine. He fought it, calling his warning flash protected free speech. Although prosecutors dropped charges, Elli along with the ACLU filed a class action lawsuit against Ellisville for even handing out those types of tickets to begin with.

Legal director of the town’s ACLU chapter, Tony Rothert, aptly pointed out:

Those who use their First Amendment rights to warn others to drive cautiously should not be punished for their message. After all, the purpose of traffic laws is to promote safety, not generate revenue.

Florida, Ohio, Tennessee, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Utah have actually ruled that flashing lights is okay under the First Amendment. Arizona and Alaska strictly forbid the practice under any circumstance apparently because of safety. Who knew?

 

5 Responses

  1. claus doehringhttp://www.pakalertpress.com/2013/02/15/kill-anyone-you-want-law-has-been-abandoned-in-america-satire/ says:

    the justice system was never meant and will never be absolutely unbiassed and righteous. judges are not independent and have to be very careful in their judgement to get their salary and pension. they have to serve the public interest, what means the interest of their superiors.those circumstances lead from time to time to strange decisions.for example a judge ruled against the defendant with the words: the truth is no defence. so you better keep the eleventh commandment: don’t get caught !

    • Michael J. Marsalek says:

      Correction . . . . . The fine was for ” obstruction of justice.” There is & was no law against
      flashing headlights.

  2. KLAUS HEIL says:

    NEW LAWS SHOULD BE APPROVED BY THE PEOPLE BEFORE THEY BECOME ACTUAL LAWS. OUR “LAWMAKERS” NEED TO BE PUT OUT INTO THE PASTURES. LET COMMON SENSE RULE AGAIN. MOST OF OUR PRESENT US REPRESENTATIVES CAN’T EVEN TELL YOU IF A NEW LAW IS CONSTITUTIONAL OR NOT.

    • Michael J. Marsalek says:

      Well how about let’s start with requiring our legislators to certify that they have read and understood all legislation before they can vote on it. This business of ” we have to pass it to find out what’s in it ” just doesn’t cut it. Also, laws should be subject to periodic review and any laws on the books that have not been enforced for a substantial period should be repealed. Consider that there are federal, state & local legislatures that keep passing new laws and regulations all the time making the U.S. the most over-legislated and over-regulated society in the world. Also, the U.S. already has the largest prison population of any country on earth. Whereas none of our laws can be enforced against all of the violators, this leads to selective and arbitrary enforcement which is discriminatory and illegal. It’s time to tkae out the trash and a quite a few legislators along with it.

  3. Michael J. Marsalek says:

    Some have been warning that there is a law against almost everything we eat wear & do. And if there isn’t a law currently on the books, new law and reinterpritations of old laws are being enforced at alarming rates. Even worse, the article asks – who knew ? Well that’s precisely the point. Even though it is impossible to know all the laws that are on the books or how the old laws may be reinterprited today by activist judges, ignorance under the law is no excuse/defense. Now consider that the government has the ability and is capturing and storing all manner of individual personal communication. This data is being stored indefinitely and although the government is not listening to calls or reading E-Mails & test messages in real time, they have the ability to sort, recall and examine the communications at their pleasure. So now – have you broken any laws, with or without knowing it, during the past 5 to 25 years ??

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