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I got a "NO LICENSE PLATE / REGISTRATION" ticket today.

Discussion in 'Texas' started by kaiserpathos, May 31, 2015.

  1. kaiserpathos

    kaiserpathos Member

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    #1 kaiserpathos, May 31, 2015
    Last edited: May 31, 2015
    So today I get to be one of those poor Texas Tesla drivers living with the results of the Texas Auto Lobby's political influence: I got pulled over by Fort Worth PD for "not driving a legally registered car", because I did not have the usual traditional Texas “dealer plates” displayed on my new Model S. The officer even snarked that "any dealership should have given you dealer plates". Hrmmmm.....


    The officer didn’t even bother to entertain my Tesla sticker in my rear window, continaing the early registration documentation on paper (still awaiting plates which I think arrive this week). He pretended to lean over and glance at it and said it’s “not large enough, I couldn’t even see that with binoculars” — so he cited me for “No License plate - Registration”. He said I’m supposed to have the usual red-text “dealer plates prominently displayed on the car", and he claimed that he could not find valid registration info under my name or the car VIN within whatever database they use for searching for this info — so I’m apparently in violation of the law or something. I completely disagree and reached out to my Tesla advisor about it.


    As he handed me the ticket I did try to also show him my car’s inspection paperwork that I have, which at least is an indication that the car is legal in Texas - unless you're going to completely ignore that along with the sticker in the window. He told me “that’s irrelevant, you could inspect a golf cart” — to which I started to ask him, “even golf carts that can do 0-60 in 5 seconds and pass most cars like they are standing still?”, but I thought better of it as the officer’s demeanor indicated he might might not enjoy a joke.


    Anyway, I don't understand why 3 weeks in he cannot yet see my car in their registration database Fort Worth PD searches? I’m looking at the info on the registration sticker Tesla put in my car's window, that and it looks fine to me... and I drive past tons of Richardson and Dallas PD every single day, and nothing. But now I am to appear in Fort Worth traffic court within 11 days, and provide proof of registration. Is this something Texas new owners run into often? I don’t want Fort Worth to throw some phony fine at me for simply driving my legally purchased (and soon to be registered) car.
     
  2. Shawn Snider

    Shawn Snider Member

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    Sound's like more Macho-Police-Brutality, sad that I hear about some other American city where someone is murdered by the Law or abused in some perverse way. It's like all the dumb-ass jocks all go to Police Academy...
     
  3. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    It's very uncommon in Texas. I've heard of it happening back east in the early days. Basically, states have to accept temporary registration from other states. You show them the registration and they will drop it. Unfortunately, you'll have to go to court. This is a police officer education problem.
     
  4. purplewalt

    purplewalt Active Member

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    To the OP:

    A couple of things...

    What date did you take delivery of your car?
    Have you had the car inspected at a Texas inspection station yet (for horn, turn indicator, wiper blades, brake lights, etc.), and do you have that sticker on the front windshield?
    Do you have the packet from Tesla that you can take down to the county tax assessor's office in order to get your plates?
    (I don't think Tesla will be sending you any plates.)
    If so, when (date) did you receive it?


    BTW: Texas has passed a LAW that the (local) police can pull you over and cite you for not having a front license plate.
    So there is that too.
     
  5. spc

    spc Member

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    i was stopped 4 times in one day, on every instance i told them the car was purchased from California and there they put those things in the window. they checked the paperwork, and my insurance and let me go.
    i did get tired of all the stops so i took a picture of a Texas tag and printed one that looked as close to the texas one.
    on top i wrote
    " California DMV"
    dealer #
    vin number
    number on the window sticker BIG LETTERS
    expire "DATE"
    cut to fit in the plate frame, inserted into a clear pocket and put in the car.
    have yet to be stopped again in 2 weeks already.
     
  6. kaiserpathos

    kaiserpathos Member

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    #6 kaiserpathos, May 31, 2015
    Last edited: May 31, 2015
    Took delivery a little over 2 weeks back, and yes the car was inspected before I took delivery. I had the inspection papers & Teslas registration info -- both were pretty much "harrumphed" by the police officer in the most expedient way possible. Honestly the officer wasn't rude or anything, just had zero interest in entertaining the notion that my Tesla tag was legal. Yes, as you note, Texas long ago passed a (let's rock caps) LAW about needing your new car's temporary tags/plates prominently displayed as well as full front/back plates. Mine are, they just happened to not be in the form of a rectangular "Dealer..." temporary plate with large text as spc mentioned in his own workaround (good idea, btw! I might just do that myself). Indeed I do have a full packet from Tesla, but your assumption is incorrect that I have everything I need to go get plates. I researched how all this is done for months, but I didn't buy -- under the conditions of their newest lease-instrument the registration and plates are handled by the lease-holder. So plates are not being handled directly by me, but I already got my ETA on plates from my SA so none of the buying-part of this really applies. If I had bought I definitely would have my plates done by now. lol (and I got a magnetic front plate kit to be installed, for that whole license plate front/back LAW stuff - a dumb law in my opinion).

    It's just odd to me that the officer did not want to consider an out-of-state purchased/leased car with pending full Texas registration. I paid a good amount of sales tax to this state for an American-made product in a state that claims to be all for this sort of thing, so I do think I have a right to be scratching my head here. lol And I also have a right to fully believe this happened as a direct result of the protectionist chickens in the auto lobby not allowing Tesla to supply dealer plates.

    At any rate, I fully intend to go to Fort Worth in a few days and respectfully challenge every iota of the citation in open court.
     
  7. andrewket

    andrewket 2014 S P85DL, 2016 X P90DL (soon 100)

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    Go get 'em.
     
  8. reddy

    reddy Member

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    #8 reddy, May 31, 2015
    Last edited: May 31, 2015
    I had my license plates the same day.

    1) Got car inspected.
    2) Went to county tax assessor collector office. Wrote them a check for taxes and registration. They took the Tesla paperwork.
    3) They handed my my plates.

    Has the process recently changed? It took me about 10 minutes, and it's what most Texas dealers charge $75 extra for.

    For leases, of course you are at the mercy of the leasing agent, and I would look to them for help on this. They can at least provide an affidavit that you were provided California temp tags, the Texas forms were filed in a timely fashion, and it wasn't your fault. A judge will probably find for you, but it is a pisser to go to court on it.

    Just out of curiosity, why lease? In Texas you pay extra sales tax. They include the tax in the total lease cost. Then they inflate every lease payment too to cover it. Texas is one of the few states to double dip like that.

    http://www.leaseguide.com/articles/texas-auto-lease/
     
  9. walla2

    walla2 Member

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    This may or may not have happened. Some person gets a car delivered at work without a plate. Said individual prints out a temporary dealer tag picture and colors in a day 30+ days in the future. While not technically valid, it would likely prevent a bs stop like this. If asked about it at a stop, show them your registration, sales papers, etc, and say "I thought this was what I was supposed to do since dealers do it."
     
  10. Krugerrand

    Krugerrand Active Member

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    I agree. I'd go armed with a whole briefcase of paperwork and evidence and I'd make a huge stink (in the politest way possible, of course). I'd even make a trip down to his 'office' and make a formal complaint. By the time I was done, he'd never make that mistake a second time nor would any of his fellow workers. But, I'm funny that way when people don't do their job right and proper, and especially when it puts me out.
     
  11. MsElectric

    MsElectric Active Member

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    I'd request a meeting with the police officer's supervisor and make a big stink about it and how you are going to the media to tell your story about being harassed for buying an American car.
     
  12. kaiserpathos

    kaiserpathos Member

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    #12 kaiserpathos, May 31, 2015
    Last edited: May 31, 2015
    No change in the process, the route you went is definitely the most expedient. I'm a serial leaser, and yes this hassle obviously has me admitting that the other path is way more convenient - lol.

    My SA got back to me, they're getting me all the additional info on their end showing exactly when they submitted the registration in my county. I'm going to bring up the affidavit angle. Might be useful. It is a pisser to go to court, but they pulled over someone who already thinks Texas' auto dealer cartel made buying an American car more difficult. So I want to make a mild stink with Fort Worth PD, on principal, and make a respectful statement in open court. It's worth the trouble, whether it's an out-of-state lease or an in-state purchase, the car was legal and it just seems like a grossly inaccurate enforcement of the law to me.

    I thought about that, but I am fairly sure a good supervisor will back his guy. But after it's thrown out, I might approach his supervisor so it's wholly known he needs to be more clear on the whole Tesla thing. His defense here is that he saw nothing in his registration-lookup. Gives him a good out, although I told him the car was purchased/leased 2 weeks back --- and since he was such an expert on car-registration he'd know I still legally have 2 weeks left to be fully registered (you have 30 days in Texas, legally, to get it inspected & registered with the DMV after a purchase -- and I'm already inspected and awaiting plates). I definitely want a positive outcome from this, and part of that might just be informing his supervisor so patrols aren't wasting department & court resources on grossly-inaccurate citations.
     
  13. kaiserpathos

    kaiserpathos Member

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    #13 kaiserpathos, Jun 1, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2015
    Entered NOT GUILTY plea today online, and requested a bench trial and submitted all of my documentation and evidence. I should have a trial date in the next few days. Hell if I had any activist attorneys in my rolodex I probably would have requested a jury trial instead, since it's allowed in Fort Worth traffic court. lol

    I have also requested Tesla DMV team to get me an affidavit of the submitted registration paperwork which will show date it was filed. I also plan to argue that the officer did not ask for (or review the registration sticker for) my purchase date which, in my admittedly limited legal opinion, invalidates a "no registration" citation: in the state of Texas I'm still 2 weeks away from the time-limit to have registration handled (you get 30 days from your purchase date). I'm all kinds of sorry he couldn't see my registration info, but it was displayed on the car as the law demands, and he flat-out refused to review it or any of my car's paperwork.If judge upholds this citation, I already have an interested Star Telegram reporter corresponding with me who might run a small story in the business or politics section (it's pretty much not a story unless I lose and am made to "pay a fine for driving a Tesla" - lol). I am also reaching out to a friend I know who works with Byron Harris at WFAA.
     
  14. PokerBroker

    PokerBroker Member

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    Don't be surprised if you get a notice from the prosecutor that they are dropping the charges. You may not even have to go to court.
     
  15. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    What I don't understand is why most, if not all US states can't seem to issue the actual plate for some time after you've had the car. How hard can it be? Here where I live, our licensing authority can just pull your plates off a pile, electronically "attach" them to the car and you walk out the door with your plates and paperwork. Dealers (and Tesla) can do that for their new owners and your plates are on the car when you pick it up. What am I missing?
     
  16. mmccord

    mmccord Member

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    In ny, nj, and pa this has been my experience. Things don't happen so quickly in the south. :)
     
  17. Eseell

    Eseell Member

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    Tesla isn't a dealer in Texas and can't register cars for their owners.
     
  18. Danal

    Danal electricmotorglider.com

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    Yes, as a fellow TX resident, I had this same risk. Dodged that particular bullet. I was prepared if it happened, and my plan was:

    1) Never argue with the officer. Try to show him the correct paperwork one time, then accept the ticket.
    2) Get the ticket dropped.
    3) Get TX plates.

    AFTER (2) and (3) BOTH are totally, absolutely, complete.

    4) Write a positive "I would like to clear up a misconception and save the department time" letter. Very, very, very positive, fact filled, helpful. Sent it to officer and as far up command chain as you can discover.
    5) Request a face-to-face appointment with command as high up the chain from the officer in question as will accept an appt.
    6) Show up and say "I wrote a very positive letter because I am afraid of retribution". "The officer really scared me". "I had all the same paperwork with me that I submitted to the court, very clear, very simple; he was ____ when I tried to show it to him", (fill in the blank with the facts of the encounter) "I am a Texas resident who took great pains to correctly register a California purchase, and to be absolutely every i dotted and t crossed legal. None of this mattered at all to Officer __________". and "ABOVE ALL, DON'T LET OFFICER _________ KNOW I WAS HERE".

    That was the plan, anyway. :)
     
  19. supersnoop

    supersnoop Tesla Roadster #334

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    More than likely, he'll discover that his "court date" is really just a pre-trial hearing with the prosecutor. After waiting in a courtroom for 90 minutes, the prosecutor will probably drop the charge.
     
  20. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    So in Texas if you buy a new (non Tesla) car, you drive it off the lot with plates? I see a lot of new US cars with no plates or some temporary cardboard placard instead of plates quite frequently. I believe it was like this in CA when my brother bought his last new car. I imagine it varies from state to state.
     

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