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Someone Seriously Needs To Reread The Rule Book

, , , , , , | Legal | September 20, 2022

I am driving with my wife and kids to the shore for the weekend. On our way down, a New Jersey state trooper turns around as we pass him and starts following us with his lights on. We pull over, and I hand the officer my information. He quickly studies it and then hands it back.

State Trooper: “Do you know why I’ve pulled you aside, Mr. [My Name]?”

Me: “No, sir. Is one of my lights broken? I’m pretty sure I just replaced them all.”

State Trooper: “There’s an issue with your license plates.”

Me: “Oh? Is it damaged? Did it fall—”

State Trooper: “Your front license plate is missing.”

Me: “What? What do you mean?”

State Trooper: “In New Jersey, you have to have both a proper front and rear license plate, Mr. [My Name].”

Me: “Are you kidding? I’m from Pennsylvania! There’s no such law there!”

State Trooper: “But you’re in New Jersey now. The law says you absolutely have to have both a front and rear plate. You can’t drive here without a front plate. The rear plate alone is not enough.”

For those unaware, the state trooper was technically right in that vehicles registered in New Jersey must have both front and rear plates. However, that law ONLY applies to New Jersey-registered vehicles. Mine is registered in Pennsylvania, which DOES NOT have two-plate laws. The state trooper didn’t care, and he issued a citation for not having a proper front license plate.

I disputed the ticket on the indicated court date, and it was quickly thrown out. Going by the judge’s reaction, it seemed like it wasn’t the first time that particular state trooper had wrongfully cited a Pennsylvania driver for only having one plate.

The next time I went to the shore, the week after the court date, I happened to pass that same state trooper’s cruiser again. Twice. Each time, he had pulled over another car with a Pennsylvania plate, presumably for the same bogus reason he pulled me over.

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