Exemption to front plate laws and other tricks

Discussion in 'Ferrari Discussion (not model specific)' started by Wyo550, May 12, 2005.

  1. Wyo550

    Wyo550 Karting

    Feb 9, 2005
    Full Name:
    Two weeks ago, I was pulled over by a Wyoming HP officer for not having a front plate on my 550. I started two threads here to ask what others had done with the front plate requirements of their states and countries.

    Today, I'm posting to tell you how, in less than a week, I effectively created-- all by myself-- a virtual exemption to U.S. federal and state laws and I learned about police powers in conducting traffic stops in general by visiting a police internet forum called not listening to know it alls at who also flamed me for being a "N" and an "A", too cheap to pay the $50 fines and who said, "You got to pay to play, so maybe you ought to drive a Pontiac." Ha! I do also drive a Pontiac Montana! The worst were the REAL "A" who said they would "NEVER" put a front plate on their F-car... not even a rear engined 360 which has a PLACE to put a front plate molded right into the front bumper. Stupid means predictable; And there's nothing more stupid than "A" with money who think that alone makes them "really special".

    Duh...I don't have a problem with TRYING to obey U.S. and Wyoming law (it sure beats lawless Iraq). No, the problem I had with putting a front plate on my 550 is that it's a front engined car with 4,000 hours of wind tunnel testing to ensure adequate cooling of a $40,000 engine. One nice 550 owner who wrote me a private email said he'd lost $2,600 in hoses when his 550 overheated due to a bra. So the prospect of hanging a 6"X12" (made-in-prison by a 1-in-138 American) license plate off the upper lip of my 550's front bumper not only revolted me aestehically-- transforming the Pininfarina designer D'April's masterpiece into a "Bucky Beaver". But more importantly, I was also sickened by the anticipation of creating boundary layer interference to the smooth laminar flow of air going into the radiator (boundary layer stagnation is why cars need windshield wipers). And I couldn't put it on the lower lip because of the 12 inches-above-ground federal and state requirement!

    I was thus faced with the miserable prospect of impairing my car to make it "legal" and then possibly overheating it and breaking down in the middle of nowhere. Under those circumstances, I was faced with the REALLY sick prospect of also "needing" to get a concealed weapons permit to protect myself and my (now "legal") trophy car when it broke down in the wild wild west. And having a gun in the car during ANY traffic stop is NOT my idea of fun.

    The solution: I called the headquarters of the HP and spoke with three senior officers. I didn't just deal with one cop. I got all three's opinions, over three days. None of them would tell me to break the law. But all agreed that my "solution" would "work". My solution technically breaks two Wyoming state statutes. But to see why this is not an issue, one has to understand why the front plate law exists in the first place and why my solution "works" for cops:
    1. In oncoming traffic, cops can read the front plate (maybe they're looking for a stolen car or a suspect). 2. Also in oncoming traffic, they can read the annual registration sticker. And 3. By afixing the front plate (in two plates- required states) they're assured that the (missing) front plate isn't on another vehicle.

    What was my solution? First, I noticed that the 550's lower lip (and other Ferrari models) seemed designed to accept a European plate. So, I not only mounted the plate on the lower lip (in violation of one Wyoming statute, but a high-ranking HP cop said that "low-riders" had effectively buried that law), I then also hacksawed the top, bottom and sides of my Wyoming plate (in violation of another statute that prohibits "mutilation") and I got the front plate's size down to the same EXPOSED size that's revealed on my (framed) back plate (see attached image). Since then, I've even seen another car's back plate frame that even obscures the name "Wyoming". So (with a photo of that other car's framed rear plate) the next time around, I may hacksaw another half inch off ther bottom of the plate and remove the name "Wyoming". Then, the plate will be the same vertical size as a European plate. I think this would give my front end even better aerodynamics, since it would completely expose the air dam's lip. Right now, it's covered for 11.5 inches.

    FOR YOU:
    I'd suggest that Ferrari owners simply call their state HP headquarters and have a civilized conversation with the highest-ranking cops there who will take your call. Explain that A. You want to obey the law. but B. You're lucky enough to be driving a Ferrari (like a 612) that makes it impossible to obey the American law and so C. Here's your idea for a compromise... and you're calling them to see if that compromise would "work".

    If your state permits single party consent taping of a phone call, tape the cop and keep the tape to take to court with you if he agrees with your point of view.

    Then, get out your drill and hacksaw and make your Ferrari street "legal".
    Now, here's what else I've learned about American police traffic stops in general (from during the past two weeks:

    When you are pulled over by a cop, it's for a reason. You should EXPECT that the cop (excuse me for calling them cops, but it's shorter to type than officer)...will INFORM you about the NATURE OF THE STOP (ie speeding, weaving-- as though intoxicated, no front plate, etc) when he approaches your car for the first time.

    I'd suggest testing him and keep your mouth shut and see if he tells you, without your asking "Why did you stop me, officer?" Because if he needs to be prompted by you, you're probably dealing with a "D" and should beware that ANYTHING you say will likely become the basis of his trying to build a PROBABLE CAUSE or REASONABLE SUSPICION case on you and trying to change the nature of the traffic stop!

    "The nature of the stop" is a serious legal requirement that must be stated by the cop when he asks you to surrender your license, registration and proof of insurance. You are then being DETAINED. You are NOT under arrest.

    From the time he goes back to his car until he reappears at your window with your documents, he cannot change the nature of the stop-- unless his dispatcher informs him that there is an outstanding want or warrant for your ass or the car's been reported stolen, etc. He has no other reasonable suspicion or probable cause to elevate the nature of the stop to another.

    OK, so he comes back to your car after writing you a ticket. There are no wants or warrants for your ass. And, like a manly man with a .40caliber Glock he stands behind your left shoulder, with the Sun behind him to make you look back and up and squint as you look up at him and he gives you a little lecture--before giving you your ticket. You be nice and don't get smart like a "I know the law"jerk. BUT if he starts to ask you additional questions about what you're doing in his neck of the woods-- before giving you your ticket-- interrupt him and politely ask for your documents.

    Because now is his ONLY legal chance to play games with you and change the nature of the stop.
    First game: Now that he's given you your ticket, you are FREE TO GO!
    The nature of the stop has ended and your detention has ended!
    Thank him, tell him to "be careful out there" and start your engine, signal your intention to re-enter traffic and GO!

    Because this is the one time where he CAN change the nature of the stop, getting you to A. understand that you're free to go (but you already knew that didn't you? You read Ferrarichat) and B. He'll try to engage you in CONSENSUAL CONTACT, to ESTABLISH REASONABLE SUSPICION AND/OR PROBABLE CAUSE...SO HE CAN CHANGE THE NATURE OF THE STOP AND FORCE YOU TO SUBMIT TO A SEARCH OF YOUR CAR OR DRUG/BREATH TEST OR FACE ARREST WHILE THE CAR IS IMPOUNDED AND TOWED.

    Your dumb ass SHOULD, by now, be a quarter mile away from him...but, instead, you're sitting there in your shiny trophy car, telling him how fast it can go and why you're in his jurisdiction in the first place and where you're going and why. You have engaged in consensual contact with a man who has a gun and the power to arrest you for ANY reason that he has PROBABLE CAUSE OR REASONABLE SUSPICION to support.

    And with you being the dumb ass, he's now gonna say, "You don't have any guns or drugs or children's body parts in your shiny trophy car do you?" And you say "no, of course not". And he says, "So, you don't mind if I search it do you?" And you look at his Glock and submit. And if you say "NO, you can't search my car" he MIGHT now be able to tell the court that he DEVELOPED probable cause in the course of consensual contact and became reasonably suspicious by your refusal! But he better have his video camera going if he pulls that "S" and he BETTER be able to prove to a judge that his probable cause or reasonable suspicion WAS based on something...or his career is going to take a big hit!

    So, be smart (like a 17 year old who a cop on described). When you get your ticket, LEAVE! And if the cop asks if he can search your car, remember Nancy Reagan and "Just say NO!" And leave! And if the cop says, "Why wont you let me search your car? You got women's clothes in there or something else you don't want me so see?" Don't answer...DRIVE AWAY! Later, you can go on eBay and (for 99 cents) send his office a nice used bra in the cop's size and tell him to buy his lipstick at KMart. And explain to the cop's boss in your letter how the cop was abusive and tried to abuse his authority during a traffic stop.

    I busted my first cop at age 22 in Sydney Australia (in Waverley, I took on a whole division of corrupt detectives and got the lead investigator axed). Since then, I've dealt with FBI counter-intelligence in Connecticut, the Wyoming State Police and U.S. Homeland Security. I now rent apartments to cops at a discount. I also carry a CO State Patrol patch in my 550's visor (a gift from the commander, for improving public safety in CO). And my best friend from high school is now the commander of the Wyoming HP (but I don't trust my old friend and therefore don't drag HIM into anything like the above).

    Bottom line: Show cops respect and let them know that you're the kind of person they're working for and risking their lives to protect and serve. Come off like --their-- Daddy or boss, SO appreciative of their good efforts.

    And ALWAYS remember: In their dangerous jobs, cops survive by reacting like frogs: A frog doesn't "see" a fly until the fly moves! So, if you move like a perp and act like a perp... then you're the fly and the frog has the Glock.

    Anyone driving a Ferrari ought to be smart enough to figure this out...instead of being so rich and stupid that they (think) can BUY their way out of trouble that they didn't need to get into in the first place! That goes for radar detectors especially! You should be smart enough not to "need" them. And if a cop sees that you've got one, it doesn't help your case... as in "What else has this dummy been doing in his trophy car besides speeding?" Maybe you smoke pot while you speed in your mind if I search? Oh, I'm sorry that my handcuffs scratched your leather seats and that I stepped on that computer behind your driver seat and may have damaged your ECU! I'm sure you can afford replacements. Have a nice day!

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  3. FarmerDave

    FarmerDave F1 World Champ

    Jul 26, 2004
    Full Name:
    I'm not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV... but maybe someone smarter than me can clarify this point:

    Isnt it a policeman's duty to enforce the law, as it has been interpreted by the courts? Not vice versa?

    So, what makes you think that having a policeman's opinion on tape is going to hold any sort of bearing on whether or not you are found guilty of violating the law?

    I don't think "a cop told me I could" is a valid defense in a court of law. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

    Edit: Also, FWIW, license plate frames are illegal in TX.
  4. Wyo550

    Wyo550 Karting

    Feb 9, 2005
    Full Name:
    Sure, a cop's duty is to enforce the law as passed by legislators and as modified by court opinion.

    What the cop's opinion on tape demonstrates is your good faith in trying to deal with conflicting elements as you attempted to obey the law. You sought their opinion.

    What this exercise really does is PREVENT you getting another ticket and GOING to court in the first place.

    Because, if a field cop wants to appear in court and argue for the literal letter of the law over something this inconsequential, nobody's going to be impressed-- not the judge, not the cop's local commander and not the state commander if it's HP. Sure, you might get a $100 fine.

    If I get pulled over for speeding, I'll sure as hell keep my mouth shut about my "mutilated" front plate-- which has been so cleverly done that no cop is even going to look twice at it! And if they do, it's the PHOTO of what my "Scottsdale Ferrari" frame does to the back plate that's going to get me off the hook in court-- not any tapes of cops giving me their opinions over the phone. ALL the tapes will do is prove to a court that I made a reasonable effort to be a law-abiding person--before the "D" head who is in court with me that day pulled me over and wasted everyone's time.
  5. FarmerDave

    FarmerDave F1 World Champ

    Jul 26, 2004
    Full Name:
    Fair enough. You'd still have to deal with violating the mutilation law, IMO.
  6. Wyo550

    Wyo550 Karting

    Feb 9, 2005
    Full Name:
    You're right, because technically that's what I did.
    I'll let everyone here know if I'm ever caught!
    I dont' think so, based on the opinions of a HP Sgt, a Lt and a Major.
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  8. Dcup

    Dcup F1 Veteran

    Jan 3, 2005
    Between 2 Implants
    Full Name:
    Claude Balls
  9. Dr Tommy Cosgrove

    Dr Tommy Cosgrove Three Time F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    May 4, 2001
    Birmingham, AL
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    Thankfully they are not required here in Alabama
  10. DGS

    DGS Four Time F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed

    May 27, 2003
    Full Name:
    Well, that explains it. You have a propensity to view cops as corrupt. Maybe you should move to L.A. ;)

    But that's part of the problem. Most cops are just doing a tough job they best they can. But when the public treats cops as "the Enemy", it's only a matter of time before cops see the public as "criminals looking for a place to happen".

    One thing: A huge number of cops are struck by traffic during stops. If stopped, look for a handy place to get out of traffic -- a parking lot or driveway, where the cop doesn't have to stand in traffic. On a freeway, don't stop just past a curve - stop where traffic can see you and the cop before it gets there. Courtesy counts.
  11. Wyo550

    Wyo550 Karting

    Feb 9, 2005
    Full Name:
    Not at all. Like the general society, 99% are very cool. See for yourself at Thanks for the generalization about what I think.

    The father of my former best friend (who's now the commander of the Wyoming HP) was killed at the side of the road. So, I --ALWAYS-- pull off the highway so that the cop doesn't get slammed... and neither do I.
    (Yea, I care more about me than the cop. Because, like the other guy said up above.... I'm GUILTY!!!!!!)
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  13. TexasF355F1

    TexasF355F1 Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Feb 2, 2004
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    Thanks for posting that. I never thought about having a resonable discussion of their opinions before.

    I do agree that most cops are decent people. It's the few that take their job to the extreme and think they are the holy grail because they wear a badge and hang a .40 at their side why we deem 'all' cops bad cops.

    The only thing with the radar is that it doesnt necessarily mean you're speeding. I use mine more for the simple safety of when you're not exactly paying attention and you find yourself going 10 over the speed limit. It wakes you up to pay attention to your speedometer.
  14. SexyLex

    SexyLex Rookie

    Nov 22, 2004
    Sandusky, OH
    Full Name:

    Take him to Rampart - remember the CRASH unit? ;)
  15. Air_Cooled_Nut

    Air_Cooled_Nut Formula Junior

    Nov 25, 2004
    Portland, Oregon
    Full Name:
    Toby Erkson
    I have a concealed hand gun permit, carry quite regularly (personal carry Glock .40), and it's never been an issue for me. Of course, I am quite courteous w/cops because they're just as nervous as I am (when a gun is involved, that is). All the cops I've dealt with in a traffic stop have been professional (though a couple have been 'cold') and not holier-than-thou. Guess I've been lucky :)
  16. sjb509

    sjb509 Guest

    Just an idea that only breaks one instead of two. Have a sticker made of the Wyoming plate with your number, cut down to fit on the space allocated on the front of the car. The front plate (unaltered) could then be kept somewhere in the car (in the trunk, maybe under the toolkit).

    You are not displaying the actual plate, but your number is clearly visible, and you have two original plates with the car.
  17. Challenge

    Challenge Formula 3

    Sep 27, 2002
    Full Name:
    John, nice detective work. I, too, have made a driving lifetime out of stacking the odds in my favor when it comes to traffic stops. Back in November I beat a 40 in a 25 charge with a well-thought-out case.

    A couple of random thoughts that have come to mind as I've read this thread:

    (1) I've been pulled over many, many times for a variety of reasons. Although your explanation regarding avoiding the officer changing the "nature" of the stop was informative, not once can I remember the cop leading me with questioning upon returning from his revenue-collection-mobile with the clipboard. It seems during the encounters I've had the cop always takes care of business in that initial conversation. That first chat will make or break the entire thing. Of course, I probably didn't act guilty because I never travel with drugs or body parts. Not anymore.

    (2) For those 2-plate states that point to the excuse for the front plate law being "so that the 2nd plate isn't on a stolen car," that excuse is lame. I have the solution: CONVERT TO A 1-PLATE STATE!!

    (3) I realize that a cop's job can be dangerous, but I get so p!ssed every time a have to veer into the left lane at highway speeds to dodge a cop car (a.k.a revenue-collection-mobile) that is parked half in the road during a traffic stop. I can't count how many accidents I have almost been in because a car beside me in the left lane prevented me from veering. At highway speeds, you would get rear-ended by nailing the brakes. Cops are creating a dangerous environment by doing this. Solution: cops should pull off the road to the shoulder parallel to the "suspect's" car and approarch the passenger window instead of the driver window in these cases.
  18. Gatorrari

    Gatorrari F1 World Champ
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    Feb 27, 2004
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    Jim Pernikoff
    I think all the states with a two-plate requirement should be required to offer the option of ordering one plate in the European size and shape, at a nominal extra cost.

    This would satisfy their need for a front plate without compromising the design of any car not set up to mount a traditional U.S.-style front plate.
  19. Z0RR0

    Z0RR0 F1 Rookie

    Apr 11, 2004
    Montreal, Canada
    Full Name:
    That sure is a lot of reading ... especially considering front plates aren't mandatory around here :D
  20. weimar97

    weimar97 Karting

    May 21, 2004
    regarding the police car impeding traffic in the right lane, a lot of states have a law that requires motorists to move over into the left lane when there is an emergency vehicle stopped on the shoulder. If you're looking ahead of you rather than simply in front of you, you won't find yourself "dodging" police cars - you'd have seen the lights from a distance and moved over early.

    Wyo550- your solution does seem plausible. I'd still recommend obtaining a replacement plate and leave it unaltered in the vehicle so if you're stopped by a watchful (albeit bored) LEO, you can appease him by replacing the customized plate with the unaltered one (even temporarily - it's not like he's going to follow you everywhere - as soon as he's gone pull into a parking lot and switch back to the altered plate).

    I also agree with the previous statement referring to "just because another cop says you can." We're all human, and sometimes we don't care what other officers/supervisors/agencies say - not ALL laws are interpreted in court. The vast majority of laws in each state could still likely be subject to interpretation. I've been doing this long enough to see multiple interpretations of various laws - simple ones at that...

    Lastly, regarding the conversation after giving the ticket - not ALL cops do this. I'm not disputing what you say, I'm sure there is a percentage of us who might use the parting conversations as a PC building attempt - I just believe that the percentage is likely 5% or less. If I stop a nice car, I'm not ashamed to admit to them that I like the car. The way I work, and the way the majority of the guys I work with - we treat people the way we should expect to be treated regardless of vehicle, race/sex/creed/etc. or even nature of the offense. A happy "customer" is always a compliant and quick customer. I tend to "butter" people up a bit so as to calm them down a bit so they're not so on edge - even the nicest people get testy when their lives are interupted. I don't make small talk after giving the ticket to the person because I know that their number one priority at that time is to get back on their way. I started the vehicle stop on a not-too-bad note and ended it in a not-so-bad note. That's the best anyone can do...

    Sorry for writing so much, I'm just trying to take a stance here because I don't want to be labeled as the bad guy. I'm the one who chases the bad guys. I'm the one who fights the bad guys. That doesn't make me a bad guy. I realize that it wasn't your intention to label all cops as bad guys, I'm simply trying to head off the ideaolgy that all cops are bad.
  21. Mike C

    Mike C F1 Veteran
    Lifetime Rossa Owner

    Aug 3, 2002
    Southeast USA
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    Mike Charness
    Weimar, thanks go out to you and your associates who put their life on the line to protect ours.
  22. AMA328

    AMA328 F1 Rookie

    Nov 12, 2002
    ABQ-67me68-OKC :)
    No, license plate frames are NOT illegal in may be confusing this with a law that was passed a couple of yrs ago stating that the work 'TEXAS' on the plate must not be obscured by a frame. This generated -lots- of buzz & hassles because most frames supplied by dealers & manufacturers partially obscure 'TEXAS' cuz this word is so close to the border.
    A frame that shows all of the lettering is legal in Tex-ass.
  23. Artherd

    Artherd F1 Veteran

    Jun 19, 2002
    Bay Area, CA
    Full Name:
    Ben Cannon

    Thanks for the laugh. The police do not interperet law. Infact, there are so many laws in this corrupt state that they often are not even basaly FAMILIAR WITH the law!

    Infact, they can legally lie to you...

    They just hook you, then it's time for a judge to interpret the law.
  24. bwassam

    bwassam Formula Junior

    Jan 3, 2005
    North Bend, Oregon
    Full Name:
    Robert Wassam
    Whenever I get pulled over the conversation is hime saying, "Drivers license, regitration and insurance please. I have pulled you over for 22349 VC, speeding. Then I say, Yes Sir." There isn't a lot of other conversation. I give honest answers and try to smile a little. In the end, I still get the ticket. LOL Ha, ha, ha, ha.

    Bob Wassam
  25. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Four Time F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed

    Apr 28, 2003
    John, thank you for your insight. In a former life, I used to work, well, I used to work for... geeze this is hard to say even 25 years after the fact, I used to work for the... IRS. My number one audit technique was to play dumb as a rock (which came naturally) and ask stupid questions. I'm sure that my face is still being used as a dartboard in certain places.

  26. tatcat

    tatcat F1 Veteran
    Silver Subscribed Owner

    Sep 3, 2001
    panama city beach FL
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    rick c
    i just keep mine under my seat with one screw in it. the one time i was stopped and the officer asked where my tag was i said " right here" and told him the i had just taken it off and the other screw must've fallen out. he seem satisfied and let me go.
  27. teak360

    teak360 F1 Veteran
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    Nov 3, 2003
    Boulder, CO
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    I don't understand what your sayin' Mr. Dale, but y'all seem like a really nice guy. I'm tryin' real hard here, can you help me out and tell me more?
  28. teak360

    teak360 F1 Veteran
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    Nov 3, 2003
    Boulder, CO
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    Asking cops for legal opinions is like asking George W. to help you train to win a spot on the debate team....

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