Does This Sound Right To Anyone?

Before I go ranting and raving about the injustice of it all, I want to check with you all to see if this sounds wrong to anyone besides me.

My son is 20 years old and has a Wisconsin drivers license.  He used to live in Wisconsin, but recently moved back to Virgina.  He moved here January of this year.  Anyway, my husband and I have a car that hasn’t been running and we haven’t needed it so we have not bothered to get it fixed.  Now that our son is home he needs the car, so this morning we got it fixed and our son was driving it to get it inspected.

About 2 blocks from the house he gets pulled over for the inspection not being current.  That is fine, but the cop also gave him a ticket for not having a license.  Our son went to get his license out of his wallet and realized it wasn’t there, so he told the police officer, he would bring proof to him later.  In Virginia a person has 24 hours to produce proof that one is in fact a licensed driver.  The police officer said that since, he, the cop could not prove that there was reason to believe our son had a valid  license in Wisconsin, that he was giving him a ticket for operating a vehicle without  any license at all.

The police officer was on a motorcycle, so he called into dispatch to have them check to see if Wisconsin had a record of his license, but the dispatcher said she/he didn’t have access to find that out.

So, the police officer told our son that it is true a person has 24 hours to produce their licenses, but that if there is no way to tell that one has a license that he can cite the driver and in addition, he told my son he can’t drive until the March 2nd court date.  That does not sound right to me.  My son has the license, but it is in his wife’s purse.  When she gets home I am going to drive him to the police department to show proof within 24 hours, but I had to go pick him up.  If he is a legal driver with a valid license and is in a state where the law allows 24 hours to produce said licenses and it has not yet been 24 hours, can the police really tell him, he is not allowed to drive until March 2nd?

Just seems wrong.  Can any of my Virginia friends(or anyone else) shed some light for me?

25 thoughts on “Does This Sound Right To Anyone?

  1. sounds like typical Virginia traffic cop behavior. whether it’s wrong or not doesn’t have any bearing over what they say/do. they’re the most uneducated traffic police i’ve encountered.

    for example, they like to claim stock car parts are illegal, and in some cases have attempted to impound the cars, too.

  2. Laura, that is awful!! Geezz!!

    I have not had much or any dealings with the police except for one speeding ticket when I was 16, so generally, I have held them in high esteem. Completely believing they are here for our good, but this nuts. In out town this month we have had 5 home invasions, 3 armed bank robbers, several assaults, a school bus shot at and a couple of gas stations robbed and yet this cop has time to sit at a corner and harass my kid. Now, if he is breaking the law, no matter how small, fine cite him, but from what I am finding he can’t cite him for either issue. Our son has the right to show his license and they will have to dismiss that ticket and he can’t be cited for the inspection sticker. He can only be cited for a moving violation, the inspection is the responsibility of the owner, ie, me:)Not positive on that last one, but that is what I am finding. No biggie, but if true, the police offer should know the laws he is trying to enforce.

  3. should, yes. do they actually know the laws? generally they do not, and lord help you if you try to correct them.

  4. I can only speak from personal experiences not in Virginia, but when I was in college many many man years ago I worked for the college PD. I was not a officer – just a student assistant. But I sat with a good friend who was a officer in the dispatch booth many times and I know that if there was a traffic stop by one of the campus police and there was no drivers license available the dispatcher could pull up the information based on the DOB and state of residnece information of the unfortunante frat boy who got pulled over.
    They could also tell if there were any warrants or restrictions.

  5. Well try telling them that their wrong about the speed limit. He said I was doing 50 in a 35. I tried for 10 mins to tell him its not a 35 its a 45. Needless to say I almost went to jail because he couldn’t read a sign. It’s possible that I ripped up the ticket it front of him. They don’t like that for some reason.

  6. ditto what they said.

    I live in the lovely state of NY, and I can tell you that quite a few people tell me that they don’t carry their license because it doesn’t matter if they get stopped without it, the cops just give them a warning. Now I don’t know that I BELIEVE those folks, due to the situations where they were trying to get out of showing valid ID, but thats what I was repeatedly told.

    I can’t speak for VA law, but I suspect that if he DID get issued a ticket, then he’s probly screwed till he can argue it in court.

  7. Umm, police have no authority to suspend a license. As far as I know he should be clear and good to drive.

    Even with my little incident, they delayed sentencing after the plea deal (in court) so my license would be suspended after the end of the semester. Read that as I plead no-lo, and they delayed sentencing so I could keep driving so the suspension would happen during the break.

    The cop is not judge and jury no matter how much he wants to be. A judge can issue an order at arraignment that he is not allowed to drive. Again a judge, not a cop.

    To put this in perspective, I was driving all the while being prosecuted for two counts of vehicular assault (felonies). My license was suspended in the end because I took a plea deal for reckless driving (misdemeanor). You can find a lawyer just to be sure, but I do not see how a cop can suspend a license. I can certainly see how a judge can.

  8. “he told my son he can’t drive until the March 2nd court date”

    Not a lawyer but this part doesn’t pass the smell test, I don’t think he has the authority to say this if your son has a valid license to drive. That would be something (IMO) that a judge would have to render.

  9. Speaking from experience:
    The dispatcher may not have been able to get the out-of-state license to come back. Either a network problem (not uncommon) or, more likely, a formatting issue.

    Many states will not return a license inquiry if you don’t exactly match the information *as printed on the license*. So if your license says, “Jingleheimerschmidt, John Jacob” and they run “Jingleheimerschmidt, John” or “Jingleheimerschmidt, John J”, it may not come back. Whenever running an out-of-state license, running it by the ID number is always preferable. IMHO. 😉

    As to the rest … well, something’s rotten in the state of Denmark.

  10. Hey there!

    OK….first, the cop can’t tell a person not to drive until his court date. That right there is BS.

    As for driving a vehicle with an expired inspection sticker…yes, that is a violation, and yes, in the eyes of the law it is the responsibility *of the person operating the vehicle* to ensure that he has all of the required documentation *in* the vehicle to prove that the vehicle is safe to operate (ie: valid inspection) that he is properly licensed and the license is not suspended / revoked, and if the state requires that proof of insurance be carried and presented on demand (VA doesn’t, as Sean said, and NY doesn’t, but NJ does, as does Delaware, and many other states).

    The drivers responsibility to make sure that he checks to make sure the vehicle is safe to operate before he gets behind the wheel. Trying to tell a judge that its YOUR responsibility, not your sons, in reference to the inspection will most likely result in the judge telling you the same thing I just did.

    and really…its really just Kabuki Theatre, because all it is, is a revenue stream for the local towns, from licensing to ticketing.

  11. The inspection ticket wil be dismissed as long as he appears in court with proof it was accomplished. (I just got that one last year)

    Check up on the VA requirement on time limit for getting a state license when you move here. It could be 30 days/90 days, etc

  12. I can’t speak for Virginia law, but some states have agreements to share information with each other electronically and some don’t…

    If I had pulled him over “back in the day”, our dispatcher would have sent an electronic request to WI to verify his license if he didn’t have it on him… if we couldn’t verify electronically, or if he didn’t have it on him for me to visually verify… I’d have likely given him a citation and advised him not to drive until he can prove he has a valid license… and because Ohio requires you to carry your license on your person. Mot cops in Ohio won’t cite you for no license if they can verify it through the dispatcher or LEADS (a lot of cops now have computers right in their cruisers)…

    In Ohio, you have sixty days after becoming an Ohio resident to get an Ohio license… If you’ve been an Ohio resident longer than sixty days, your license from whatever state is no longer considered valid here even if your issuing state still considers it valid…

    If I had issued a citation in Ohio for not having a valid driver’s license, in your son’s case, the driver could go home and get his license, then take it to the court and show it… they would then invalidate the citation… or he could go to his court hearing and show the license and the judge or magistrate would dismiss the citation…

    I’m not sticking up for the cop, but in most states… but it’s your job in most states to prove you have a valid permit because driving is considered a “priviledge” and not a “right”… unfortunately… Although the not driving until the court date… I would think that would only be advised if he could not prove he had a valid license… ’cause if the next cop that pulls him over… and he has a valid license… then it’s not a problem…

    Ohio requires drivers licensees and also CCW holders to have their cards carried on their person… if the computer or database is down… that little card is all that can prove you are licensed…

    Hope he gets it worked out easily and inexpensively…

    Dann in Ohio

  13. VA does have a requirement that once you move into the state you have 30 days to transfer your license to VA. There is a military exemption – is he in the military? If not he needs to go to the DMV and change his license over.

    The LEO telling your son that he cannot drive until his court date is BS. That would essentially be the LEO finding your son guilty on the spot and imposing an immediate sentence (BS).

    You son can appear on his court date and present the proof that the vehicle inspection was done in a timely manner after the ticket was issued (pink receipt). It is the judges discretion as to whether to accept that or not. I have never seen a judge still impose a fine after the proof was presented (yes – unfortunately I have spent too many mornings listening to other cases before mine).

    Your son can also present his driver’s license (enlarged photocopy of his old WI license as proof that he had a license, new VA license and a copy of his driving record from VA DMV) and again the judge has the discretion to toss out the ticket and fine for operating without a license.

    Hope this helps a bit…..

  14. The virginia Beach Pd kept harassinga man because he was openly carrying a handgun as the VB statutes say you can. The end of the story is the AG of virginia told them to lay off. The man in question was awarded compensation TWICE over the idiocy of the VBPD

  15. Thanks everyone. As I said, if he is doing something wrong, no problem he should suffer consequences, but not being able to drive until his court date sounded odd. He has not been back in VA for 30 days yet and his WI licenses is valid, so hopefully, we will be able to get this resolved quickly. Thanks so much for your help!

  16. Color me late to this party, but as a lawyer and former VA police officer, I can’t resist.

    To begin with, if he has a license, he can drive, and the admonition not to drive until March 2nd is ridiculous and invalid. Also, Dispatch could have very easily checked his name and date of birth with Wisconsin. It’s done all the time and it would be no different than if he’d produced said license and they wanted to ensure that it’s valid and he’s not wanted there.

    As to the inspection sticker, anyone driving the car assumes responsibility for it, mechanically and otherwise, so yes, he could be cited for it being out of inspection, but not many officers would write an actual money ticket in a case like this. Oh, wait–it was a motor officer, wasn’t it? Well that explains everything. Those guys are born and bred traffic nazis and they ticket everyone. It’s what they live for, God love ’em.

    Long and the short of it though is that if/when your son appears before the magistrate, all of this can–and should–be dismissed once he shows his license and a valid inspection certificate. Know in advance though that if he’s moving back here, VA only allows 30 days to obtain a valid VA driver’s license, so showing up in March with a Wisconsin permit alone might not be the best strategy. Bring the old Wisconsin permit or a copy of same to court, too, but have a VA permit in hand as well.

    PS–remind #1 son to keep that license on him when he drives from now on. 😉

  17. I’m no lawyer, but perusing the laws of Virginia. Murphy seems to be correct:

    Sometimes it’s difficult to prove a negative, but the only place in Virginia law that I can find authority for the police to administratively suspend a license on the spot is in the event of DUI or refusal to submit to a breath test

    A new resident has 60 days to get a Virginia License after moving here.

    The 24 hour time limit to present a valid license appears to be bogus. A valid license can be presented prior to, or at the court appearance and the charge will be dismissed, however the defendant will have to pay court costs.

    In my experience, the judges tend to do the same for an inspection ticket. If your son shows up to court with an inspection certificate, they’ll most likely drop the charge and just require him to pay court costs…but they are not required to, it’s up to the court’s discretion.

    In defense of Virginia cops, it is not unusual, regardless of the state, for the cops to be unfamiliar with the laws they are enforcing. It’s not really unsurprising when you consider the sheer quantity and ridiculous complexity of the laws…not to mention the hiring criteria and pay scale of most Police Departments in the US. No offense to Murphy or other cops intended, but we don’t exactly demand the highest quality personnel for those positions. Most police departments only require a high school education (or GED) and one can make more money delivering pizza than an entry level cop makes in many jurisdictions, so is it any wonder that we sometimes end up with…um…less than stellar performers in that profession?

    BTW: The person to which Dean Corder refers wasn’t arrested by Virginia Beach…it was Norfolk (right next door…and where I live) who owns that dubious honor.

    The interesting thing is that one of the arrests of the person in question (His name is Dan Moore and he’s an acquaintance of mine) was almost immediately following a city council meeting at which a prior arrest was protested.

    I’m not sure how much money Dan eventually got from the city in settlements as a result of his multiple false arrests, but it was substantial.

    BTW: I carried openly in many of the same venues of this city during the same time period of his arrests (and still do to this day) and no one has ever looked twice at me. There were two other guys with Dan at the time of the arrest following the city council meeting who were not arrested. The difference? I, and the other two guys who were with Dan, are white. Dan is black. Coincidence? We report, you decide.

  18. NellieVaughn- Yes, we will go to court and see what we can do:)

    Sailorcurt-thanks for your info and story. That is one crazy course of events. What is wrong with people?

    • short answer? too dang nosy for their own good and/or they just don’t give a crap about anyone but themselves (either that or they actively enjoy screwing others….and not in a good way)

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