New license plate law to take effect


Beginning Thursday, January 1, 2009, all motorists with Arizona license plates will be required to “maintain each license plate so it is clearly legible and so that the name of this state at the top of the license plate is not obscured.”  In other words, if you are one of the many drivers on the road with a bulky license plate frame, the police can pull you over if the word “Arizona” is even partially covered.  The new law, A.R.S. §28-2354, is viewed by many as unnecessary for public safety and unfair in that it applies only to in-state motorists.

The larger issue, however, is the real motive behind this new law.  Many Drug Defense Attorneys and Criminal Lawyers believe that the police supported this measure because it provides them the ability to legally justify the stop of a car in many cases where they otherwise would be unable to.  Under federal and state law, the police cannot conduct a traffic stop unless they have reasonable suspicion to believe that a crime or traffic violation has been committed.  If the police stop a car and find drugs or evidence of some other crime, the courts will generally suppress the finding if the initial stop was not legally justified.  This new measure now makes it that much easier for the police to conduct a questionable stop and sidestep issues pertaining to the constitutionality of their conduct.

Please contact Phoenix attorney Joshua Davidson if you have any questions about search and seizure law or wish to discuss your case.

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The Arizona Defense Law Blog is published by Phoenix DUI and criminal defense attorney Joshua S. Davidson. Nothing on this website is intended to create an Attorney-Client relationship and the information provided herein is for general information purposes only.


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