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Old 09-12-2014, 07:34 PM   #1
Queen of Spades OP
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Vertical plates in Georgia. Who's been pulled over and how did it go?

Was leaving my local Home Depot when I hear someone call out behind me. I turn to see an off-duty rent a cop staring at my license plate. He said that if it was up to him, he would pull me over for it. I asked, "for what?". He said my plate was supposed to be mounted horizontal, and that he could not read it mounted vertical.

I explained that my bike came from factor with vertical mounting holes. Showed mirrors, turn signals, brake light functionality, the whole nine yards. He shook his head and said he still would have pulled me over. I was a little ticked off, but let it go and drove home without incident.

So I google around and find statute 40-2-41, which deals with license plate mounting in the State of Georgia. Pay attention to the part where it does not say vertical mounted plates are illegal.

I've owned my bike for 7+ years and never gave a second thought to the vertical plate (OEM). Now I am concerned I will be pulled over by an eager officer looking for revenue rather than stopping burglaries or other crime. Should I be?
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Old 09-12-2014, 07:34 PM   #2
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Here's the legal stuff regarding license plates in GA.
GEORGIA CODE
TITLE 40. MOTOR VEHICLES AND TRAFFIC CHAPTER 2. REGISTRATION AND LICENSING OF MOTOR VEHICLES ARTICLE 2. REGISTRATION AND LICENSING GENERALLY


O.C.G.A. § 40-2-41 (2009)


§ 40-2-41. Display of license plates


Unless otherwise permitted under this chapter, every vehicle required to be registered under this chapter, which is in use upon the highways, shall at all times display the license plate issued to the owner for such vehicle, and the No person shall display on the rear of a motor vehicle any temporary or permanent plate or tag not issued by the State of Georgia which is intended to resemble a license plate which is issued by the State of Georgia. The commissioner is authorized to adopt rules and regulations so as to permit the display of a license plate on the front of certain vehicles. It shall be the duty of the operator of any vehicle to keep the license plate legible at all times. No license plate shall be covered with any material unless the material is colorless and transparent. No apparatus that obstructs or hinders the clear display and legibility of a license plate shall be attached to the rear of any motor vehicle required to be registered in the state. Any person who violates any provision of this Code section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.


HISTORY: Ga. L. 1927, p. 226, § 8; Code 1933, § 68-215; Ga. L. 1977, p. 596, § 1; Code 1981, § 40-2-38; Ga. L. 1982, p. 1584, §§ 3, 6; Code 1981, § 40-2-41, as redesignated by Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 2; Ga. L. 1991, p. 779, § 1; Ga. L. 1992, p. 6, § 40; Ga. L. 1997, p. 419, § 10; Ga. L. 2000, p. 523, § 3.




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Old 09-13-2014, 08:05 AM   #3
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I'd simply carry a copy of the statute with me.

If he's dumb enough to write you a ticket in the face of proof, you have a very legitimate false arrest case in the making.
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Old 09-13-2014, 09:31 AM   #4
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Bottom line is vertical mounted is not illegal as defined by the OCGA. Having said that, I place it into the same category as the GA Helmet law. Helmet law in GA states that riders will use a helmet that is on the approved list provided by the PSC. The PSC has never made a list of approved helmets, therefore, Schuberth helmets and baseball caps are equally legal.

The two will pan out the same way, Vertical Tag or riding Helmetless:

1) You will get pulled over
2) You will get a ticket
3) You will win in court (If prepared)
4) You will lose a days pay in the process

Carrying a copy of the code is good advice (false arrest angle not so much), but better is to memorize it, and after (using the utmost respect) quoting it verbatim, elude to the fact that a Third citation for the same thing is good grounds for a harassment suit. That will usually stop the process at step 2.

I know several Riders that use brain bucket type helmets who use this process and it seems to work well. YMMV
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Old 09-13-2014, 12:45 PM   #5
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The word "legible" is subjective. The officer can easily argue that we read left to right not vertically. That would be backed up I would think by automatic tag readers not being able to process a vertical tag. It would come down to what the judge thought.
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Old 09-13-2014, 04:13 PM   #6
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FWIW, I had several soldiers ticketed for vertical license plates because they hindered the ability of the officer to see it. A couple went to court and each lost the challenge. One had his license suspended because of it (then was later reversed after a letter to the state) and the other just increased fine and court costs tacked on. YMMV.
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Old 09-14-2014, 02:18 PM   #7
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My 625 SXC is mounted Verticle...Came that way...gonna stay that way...Not had a problem as of yet..


Words have meaning...Definition is plain.

""It shall be the duty of the operator of any vehicle to keep the license plate legible at all times''.

: capable of being read or deciphered :
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Old 09-15-2014, 12:55 PM   #8
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Rent a cop. He is a wanna be.
Here in California you need to
have the plate unobstructed and lit
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Old 09-15-2014, 01:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DirtDabber View Post
The word "legible" is subjective. The officer can easily argue that we read left to right not vertically. That would be backed up I would think by automatic tag readers not being able to process a vertical tag. It would come down to what the judge thought.
Exactly, if they can check it easily your gonna sit on the side of the road while they do it. Not worth the hassle, same goes for the frames around tags, if it covers the exp. sticker your sitting on the side of the road again.
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Old 09-15-2014, 02:57 PM   #10
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If having the plate vertical is not legible then the code should clearly reflect that. It should not be left up to discretion of police officers or judges. Having a gray area leaves room for officers to generate easy revenue since the code does not clearly state tags should be horizontal. Until a few days ago I hadn't given my vertical tag a second thought. I don't ride wheelies down 285 or do donuts in parking lots. I stop at stop signs and follow posted speed limits. Law enforcement should spend more time catching burglars, IMHO.
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Old 09-15-2014, 03:17 PM   #11
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Officer discretion is why you sometimes get a warning instead of a ticket. Want to do away with warnings ? Make your "IMHO" clear to the Officer next time you get stopped, and record the encounter for it educational purposes.

I just don't think my time is worth it, if having it where they can read it saves me from being stopped that's what I'll do. It's PC to make the stop, no if's, ands or buts about it. I know alot of folks don't like it. But it's the gateway to have a look around and see what else could be going on.
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Old 09-15-2014, 03:27 PM   #12
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I really doubt the guy was a real cop probably a want to be. Either way if pulled over I would asked the cop if he's ever been to a library or a video rental store. If so the titles are always sideways! I spent quite a few years as a cop and never heard of anyone being hassled over a sideways license.


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