The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has issueda momentous decision
today: Front license plates must be displayed on the front bumper. None of this half-assing it by putting it up on your dashboard under the front windshield.
This was especially bad news for Tawin Spence, who was pulled over for going the half-assed route, and then was discovered to be toting a half-pound of coke in his pants. Spence was driving a Chevy Impala "with blue sparkle paint with white racing stripes and large wheels," so maybe he thought the front license would cramp his ride's style.
Cops spotted him leaving a "known drug house" and pulled him over.
Spence argued that his license-plate location was legal, and therefore the cops had no reason to pull him over and search him.
Today that argument crumbled.
"We conclude that the plain language of Texas Transportation Code § 502.404(a) requires that a license plate be displayed at the foremost part or front of a vehicle, most commonly the front bumper," a majority of the court thundered, in language that Oliver Wendell Holmes might envy.
Oh, there was a spirited minority opinion, to be sure, from Justice Lawrence Myers:
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The majority's definition, however, is inconsistent with the placement of the rear license plate, which is usually on the trunk or tailgate. Therefore, if the majority is correct that front means "foremost part" or "front bumper," then there is a discrepancy in the statute with how the front and back plates are displayed since rear licence plates are not displayed on the back bumper.
So front means "front bumper" but rear does not mean "rear bumper"? I prefer to believe that if the legislature meant front bumper then it would have said "bumper" in the statute.
I would also like to point out that a vehicle must have a light to illuminate the rear license plate, while there is no requirement that the front license plate be illuminated.
Speak truth to power, Justice Meyers!!
Better get those license plates attached pronto, drug guys.