Moving violation ticket left on windshield -- legit?

This morning, as I walked through the parking lot towards my car, I noticed a piece of paper under the windshield wiper. Figuring it was yet another flyer for a restaurant or club, I prepared to discard it. Looking at it, though, I saw the hated red lettering of a traffic ticket.

My first assumption was that it was a parking ticket, which, while annoying, wouldn’t be that big a deal. I wasn’t parked illegally or anything, though, so I was somewhat confused. Upon reading the ticket, though, I discovered it was not a parking ticket, but an actual citation, for “failure to display front plate”. Sure enough, I looked down, and I had no front plate on my vehicle.

Anyway, this brings me to my question. In the past, whenever I’ve been ticketed for a moving violation, it has been delivered directly to me in person; that is, I’m stopped by a police officer, told why I’m being ticketed, and asked to sign a statement saying that I have indeed been served with this citation. I would be told my rights, and the officer would explain that I can plead “not guilty” or “guilty”, and either pay the fine or go to court.

At the time this ticket was left on my vehicle, I was asleep. The time listed was 2:23am, and the vehicle location was listed as “parked”. My question, then: was this ticket legitimately delivered? I’m not simply trying to get them on a techicality, I’m genuinely curious. I wasn’t notified at the time, I did not have my rights and responsibilities explained to me, and most importantly, I didn’t sign the statement saying I had received the citation. If the ticket had blown off the windshield, or someone had grabbed it, I would have no idea I’d been ticketed. Honestly, I don’t see how this is reasonable; if I had been present at the time, I would have been able to talk to the officer. I would have been given a chance to explain myself to him, prior to it moving into the court system. I would have had the possibility of receiving a warning, other than being slapped with a ticket.

Needless to say, I’m a little annoyed. The state in question is Connecticut, and I’m sure ticketing procedure varies from state to state; that said, does anyone have any experience with this? I intend to plead “not guilty” to the ticket, and I also plan on asking the local PD (politely) whether this is kosher, for the record. Still, any information anyone could provide would be greatly appreciated.

Disclaimer: this is in no way to be construed as a solicitation for legal advice; consider this a purely academic exercise.

Let’s get this out of the way right now - I am not an attorney, or in any branch of the legal profession. And my experiences are in Kally-for-nya, home of Der Gropernator.

That being said, what you received was not a moving violation. It’s a registration violation, which can be given to you at any time the car is on public roads or public property.

The only time a registration violation cannot be issued is when the vehicle is on private property.

Several years ago, I was delinquent in paying my registration and had expired tags. I received a ticket for this offense while parked in a public parking lot, and was told by my cousin, who IS an attorney, that it is perfectly legal to do so.

On the Connecticut DMV website, it states that “all vehicles in the state must have two license plates, one front and one rear.” Just like California. So this is not a moving violation for you.

I’m with Rico - it will depend on CT law, but it’s probably legitimate. (Those who write tickets generally know the law.)

OTOH, you can probably beat this. Go to your motor vehicle department and get a replacement plate. When you appear before the judge, say “Your honor, I don’t know where that plate could have got to - I’m almost sure it was there the day before. Maybe someone stole it. Naturally, I went right down and got a new one. I’d really like to thank the person who wrote that ticket for being so alert and pointing out the problem to me.”

thats one anal cop who issued that.

I had a similar problem and pleaded it in court and won, the fine wasnt big but i just get annoyed at things and fight 90% of my fines and out of 5 have only paid 1 so far.

Someone stole the plate of the car i was looking after to for a friend whjilst he was away.

He has novelty plates ##GTS not saying what the rest is to stop identification.

Anyway again the car was parked on the street as i did not have a garage at the time, somoen sole the front novelty plate and i got a fine for it, i hadnt even driven the car.
I pleaseded it in court becuase the other problem is that if you have special plates to be issued with new ones you have to return the other 2 so i had to go through hell just to get a replacement front plate.
This brings me to another point.

What happens if you are say doing some work on your car like respraying the front bumper so you park your car on the street and spray the bumper in your yard, because you dont have a garage or other car hold.

Can you still be fined, i mean you arent driving the car you can still see the plate on the back, and you have an intention of replacing it.

Also what happens if you lose a plate, and are on your way to the motor registry to get a new one.

Whole can of worms.


Seems to me like in these situations you would talk with the officer to explain the situation and hope s/he chooses not to give the ticket. My feeling is that a reasonable response from the cop in each of these situations would be to give a ticket that’s contingent on the offense being remedied within a certain amount of time. Aren’t there tickets for things like broken tail lights that you can get discharged or dismissed just by mailing in proof that the light was fixed?

My son-in-law got the same exact ticket out here in California and he too wanted to make a federal case out of fighting it. Here’s what I told him:

No one wants to punish you cuz your plate is missing. They want you to fix it.

If you have the plate then put it on. If it is lost, then go to DMV and pay for a replacement and put it on. You’re going to need to do this anyways.

Then find out how you clear the ticket in your area. Here in California, you gotta drive to a Highway Patrol office and they have someone who will go out and look to see if the violation is fixed. Then that person will stamp and sign the back of the ticket.

Then you take the ticket down to the courthouse or wherever your traffic court is and turn in your stamped ticket. In Calif, they used to then dismiss the ticket and there was no charge. But a few years ago they added a $10.00 administration fee that you gotta pay no matter what.

So—why don’t you just clear the ticket?

No it isn’t. That’s an alert cop who was doing his job.

I’ve written lots of tics like this. Perfectly legal. You can put them under the wipper or mail them to the address the registration comes back to.

I’ve even stopped “Peter” while he was driving a car registered to “Paul” and have given a non-registration ticket to “Peter”, however the ticket was made out to “Paul”. Then I tell Peter, “make sure the owner of the vehicle get’s this”.
About a day later “Paul” storms into the station claiming I can’t give him a ticket through someone else.
Judge says I can! :smiley:

I’m a real bounty hunter when it comes to registration cites. It’s not so bad though: The judges here are pretty good about dismissing registration tickets if you’ve taken care of the problem before the court date. That is, until they read my report on the space on the back of the courts copy of the citation and he finds out what an asshole you were while I was writting it! :stuck_out_tongue:

If cops are spending their time being overpaid meter maids, it’s time to start the layoffs.

They are enforcing state vehicle registration requirements, not a city ordinance supporting parking meters.


Missing front plate maids then.

They can do it in Montgomery County Maryland. Some real A-Holes around here!

My neighbor had her car towed off her property because there were no tags on the car. She bought the car for her son who was away at school and thought she could wait until he got home to get it inspected and registered. :mad:

Why is it that so many people want the police to pick and choose what laws they are going to enforce? Sure, on busy nights an officer has to set priorities, but when there’s time even little violations have to be enforced.

If you don’t like it, lobby your states legislature and change the law regarding plate display.

Cops have discretion. Certainly lots of cops will choose not to give other cops tickets so when people get tickets for simple things that might be better handled with a verbal notice/warning, the people are wanting the cops to pick and choose as the cops often do for their fellow police officers.