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Database Loophole Lets Legislators Avoid Photo Radar Tickets 165

Posted by timothy
from the public-choice-theory-at-play dept.
lemur3 writes "State legislators in Colorado have not been receiving speeding tickets due to inadequacies in the implementation of a DMV database. The current system ties plates to vehicles rather than to individuals, the special plates for legislators are issued to individuals. The result is that there is no entry in the database for the special plates when the automated photo radar system is triggered, this means nobody receives a citation. In one case a Colorado resident, who had vanity plates reading '33,' received the photo radar citations intended for Senator Mike Johnston representing district 33, whose vehicle was identified by a '33' on his special plate. Lt. Matt Murray of the Denver Police, speaking of the system commented, 'Our system works, the database works. What needs to happen is the state's database need to be complete.'"
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Database Loophole Lets Legislators Avoid Photo Radar Tickets

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  • Now this one is something that could easily fall into Hanlon's / Heinlein's Razor but it does seem a bit like somebody really favors the politicians these days.

    I think Carl Sagan [brainyquote.com] was wrong. The Universe is really out to get us.

    • by icebike (68054)

      Now this one is something that could easily fall into Hanlon's / Heinlein's Razor but it does seem a bit like somebody really favors the politicians these days.

      Even if you favor politicians, how do sneak duplicate plates bast your database software?

      The way the story reads, there are two cars with the exact same plate number, 33, both on the street and in the database.

      How is that even possible? Wouldn't you expect the plate number to be a unique key in the database? Or is the story just wrong?

      • I suspect that they issue the plates under a different jurisdiction, the same way that if you had plates from another state or country, there could be an overlap in the plate numbers.

        One plate for the public, another for politicians - after all, they do seem to live in their own little world.
      • One plate for a private citizen, another plate for a politically designated office, possibly another plate for commercial vehicles. and possible yet another for public service vehicles. The private citizen's plate was never very likely to duplicate a plate for any other pool of vehicles, but it happened when the guy ordered his own special vanity plate.

        • by Khyber (864651) <techkitsune@gmail.com> on Sunday July 14, 2013 @07:43PM (#44280537) Homepage Journal

          No, the system is designed to prevent that.

          What likely happened is the purely large '33' on one plate got mistaken for a smaller-grouped '33' on a different spot on another plate in conjunction with a specialized license plate number already-printed on the plate. You'll see stuff like this on Disabled Veteran vehicular plates, certain tax-exempt cross-country trucker plates, gov't official plates, and county/city service plates.

          Source: Former plate inspector in a Mississippi state prison (one of my 'jobs' before I hit the RID boot camp program for my sentence.)

      • I expect they're different plate types.

        The "Legislator" tag that says "33", vs the "Collector" tag that says "33", vs the "Vanity" tag that says "33", vs the "Municipal" tag that says "33"...

      • by modecx (130548)

        Legislators' plates such as these are registered to a person, not to a particular vehicle, which is what we all expect. If the legislator has 1+ daily drivers (car / truck), he may receive more than one set.

        • by icebike (68054)

          Still no reason to issue that same number to a non legislator.

          (why is this so hard to understand?)

          • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

            by Khyber (864651)

            Plenty of reason. You should spend some time in prison forming, masking and printing license plates like I did before you start asking such asinine questions.

            And in reality, you don't even have to spend time in prison. There's a big difference between a personalized '33' plate and a Gov't plate with '33' recognizable in the upper right or far right side of the plate, doesn't matter the state, because the gov't plates all look almost the EXACT same. No designs, simple letters in a standardized font, etc. Hel

  • by Vlad_the_Inhaler (32958) on Sunday July 14, 2013 @12:23PM (#44277641) Homepage

    The way this works in Germany is that two pictures are taken - one of the numberplate and one of the driver. I received a letter several years ago saying that my car had been caught speeding and that the driver was obviously not me - their face recognition software recognised a female driver. The photo was included and my (by then ex-) girlfriend paid the fine.
    German courts do not consider the numberplate alone to be adequate ID, a practice going back decades.

    • by edman007 (1097925) on Sunday July 14, 2013 @12:38PM (#44277737)

      In the US they don't either (at least not in NY), the solution is to not fine the driver. They fine the vehicle owner, but it's not considered a violation against the driver, thus it doesn't show up on your record and it doesn't affect insurance. Basically it's done the same way parking tickets are handled (which also don't need anything other than a license plate).

      Sounds to me like that's the root of the problem, the tickets are for the vehicle owner, and the legislator plates are not tied to the vehicle, thus the system can't pull the owner from the database. They could send it to the driver, but generally that doesn't stand up in court so the systems don't do that.

      • In the special case of a plate issued to a public official, wouldn't making the claim that someone else was driving the car be an admission to misuse of public resources? It seems like every time a governor runs for a different office, someone goes back and brings up everyone who ever used their official car.

        • by icebike (68054)

          Actually they should fine the DBA that allowed duplicate plate numbers into the database. What the hell was he thinking?

          Since there are reserved legislative district plates, why would they allow any average citizen to select that same plate number for a vanity plate? In my state, a computer check is performed each time you try to get a vanity plate. Doesn't that seem obvious?

          • by whoever57 (658626)

            Actually they should fine the DBA that allowed duplicate plate numbers into the database. What the hell was he thinking?

            I assume that the plates are different types, thus having overlapping numbers should not be a problem as long as the database includes details of the plate types and the photo-ticket system can distinguish between plate types.

          • by whoever57 (658626) on Sunday July 14, 2013 @02:16PM (#44278447) Journal
            And I should also note that, according to TFA, the problem is not duplicate numbers in the DMV database, because these special plates (issued to people, not vehicles) are not in the database.

            I wonder if the DMV database can even cope with a license plate that is issued to a person and not a vehicle? There are also dealer and manufacturer plates which are not assigned to a vehicle: I wondoer if they are in the database?
            • by SeaFox (739806)

              There are also dealer and manufacturer plates which are not assigned to a vehicle: I wonder if they are in the database?

              I've often wondered why I see dealer plates on cars that are obviously private vehicles and not cars for sale from a dealership. The idea some car dealer is too cheap to pay the once-a-year car tag fee so he "borrows" a tag from work was the original idea. But if a dealer plate lets them get off scot-free from automated traffic ticket systems I can really see the lure.

          • by sjames (1099)

            I have no doubt the rules for uniqueness were set by people who only know Doing Business As. The DataBase Administrator is stuck with the rules with no input.

            Given that, I'm not so sure what the DBA was thinking is fit to print.

      • by gmanterry (1141623) on Sunday July 14, 2013 @01:04PM (#44277937) Journal

        In the US they don't either (at least not in NY), the solution is to not fine the driver. They fine the vehicle owner, but it's not considered a violation against the driver, thus it doesn't show up on your record and it doesn't affect insurance. Basically it's done the same way parking tickets are handled (which also don't need anything other than a license plate).

        Sounds to me like that's the root of the problem, the tickets are for the vehicle owner, and the legislator plates are not tied to the vehicle, thus the system can't pull the owner from the database. They could send it to the driver, but generally that doesn't stand up in court so the systems don't do that.

        That's interesting. Here in Arizona, if the picture isn't the owner and the owner won't rat the actual driver out, then the ticket is thrown out.

        • by icebike (68054)

          Stupid law.

          You and I should buy identical cars. I'll drive yours with impunity, and you drive mine in your usual scoff-law way. We're both golden.

        • by chihowa (366380)

          That's how it is in Colorado, too. The issuing authority has the responsibility to demonstrate who the driver is. By law, if the driver's face is obscured, the ticket is thrown out.

      • by guruevi (827432)

        In the city I'm at they don't even consider it a fine. They consider it a surcharge that you have to pay to the company that owns the red light camera's. The city probably gets a cut from it but you can't fight it in court because it's not a recognized fine under local or state laws. However if you don't pay the surcharge, they can still suspend your license because not paying the surcharge is recognized in the law. So you can go to court when they suspend your license during which proceedings (6 months for

        • by sabri (584428)

          In the city I'm at they don't even consider it a fine. They consider it a surcharge that you have to pay to the company that owns the red light camera's. The city probably gets a cut from it but you can't fight it in court because it's not a recognized fine under local or state laws. However if you don't pay the surcharge, they can still suspend your license because not paying the surcharge is recognized in the law. So you can go to court when they suspend your license during which proceedings (6 months for the next court date) you don't have a license (which in the US is practically a death sentence). You can then get your license back on a constitutional technicality (right to a speedy trial) but since the surcharge remains pending, every 12 months they'll re-suspend it.

          You, sir, have chosen the wrong politicians. If this was my city, I'd campaign until they have been thrown out of office with tar and feathers.

        • by KPU (118762) on Sunday July 14, 2013 @03:17PM (#44278901) Homepage

          Is there any legitimate usage of the word surcharge or does it always mean scam?

        • by Mateorabi (108522)
          The state can't compel you to give your money to a third party any more (i.e. with any fewer legal protections) than they can compel you to give it to them. The intersection is public right-of-way and I doubt you entered into some form of contract with the camera company (in which you would still have the protections of civil court anyway.)

          How has this not been challenged on a clear 5th amendment violation? "...nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law..." It doesn't hav
          • by guruevi (827432)

            Traffic court doesn't have to follow due process of law, heck some cities don't even have traffic courts anymore, they simply use a traffic violations bureau in which there is an administrator basically rubber-stamping whatever the ticket/officer says, there is no due process, no judge, no jury. Those offices have been mandated to maintain a certain conviction rate (65% or so).

            Those things have been considered constitutional for all non-criminal offenses, I don't know the legal argument but I think it boils

      • by Khyber (864651)

        "In the US they don't either (at least not in NY), the solution is to not fine the driver."

        No, the solution is to find the proper driver of said vehicle regardless of plate (in California, like they did with me by running my face through their DMV database,) and ticket them instead.

        Thankfully I won, because it was my former boss, who looks like me, especially with the long hair, that was driving.

      • by Macgrrl (762836)

        In Australia the way it largely works is the infringement is sent to the registered owner of the vehicle (assuming the driver hasn't been pulled over and handed the notice in person.), and if they were not driving at the time they can lodge a statutory declaration nominating another driver.

        Rental companies get hit with this quite a bit.

        Some infringements, such as speeding, can also cost you points from your licence, whereas other infringements like parking don't.

      • Sounds to me like that's the root of the problem, the tickets are for the vehicle owner, and the legislator plates are not tied to the vehicle, thus the system can't pull the owner from the database. They could send it to the driver, but generally that doesn't stand up in court so the systems don't do that.

        Sounds to me like the root of the problem is legislators getting special license plates. But when it's your job to give out favors to your supporters, why not have a few favors for yourself?

    • by FuzzNugget (2840687) on Sunday July 14, 2013 @01:40PM (#44278191)

      Indeed, a plate number is not a human being (hmmm... sounds awfully familiar) and they should be required to capture both the plate number *and* a clear, recognizable photo of the driver's face. This should merely be evidence collected for the state (or crown, depending on where you live) and not considered a foregone conclusion.

      Where I live, a facial photo is not required and there have been numerous occasions where the cameras were rigged.

      My dad received a ticket for "speeding" in a construction zone on a Sunday afternoon WHEN NO ONE WAS WORKING. He was doing the posted speed limit, but not the implied lower speed limit for a construction zone that only applies when workers are present. Someone obviously "forgot" to switch the trap off. Reports of miscalibrated radars, hidden traps, shortened yellows and predatory enforcement abound.

      And they know *exactly* how to keep you on the hook for it: a photo radar ticket is slightly less expensive than taking a day off to fight it in court, it doesn't count against your driving record (making less worthwhile to fight and they can keep dinging you endlessly) and court dates can be set *years* into the future.

      Any photo radar system that doesn't require a human to be irrefutably identified a flat-out scam, plain and simple.

    • by augahyde (1016980)
      And that's why I rode my motorcycle with a full faced helmet. :)
    • How about just sending all the tickets out and not excluding anyone "special"? If they had a valid reason to break the law, I'm sure they will be able to explain it to the judge on their day in court, just like everybody else. What makes people on a list more equal than others?
      • So cute. You think they'd go to court. They would just send an underling to the court with the ticket and the prosecutor would simply dismiss the case.
  • Just as intended (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mitreya (579078) <mitreya@LISPgmail.com minus language> on Sunday July 14, 2013 @12:24PM (#44277643)

    Our system works, the database works.

    System works as intended, by placing the responsibility of defense on the accused.

    I wonder how long it took for that person with vanity plates 33 to get his ticket annulled. He probably had to go to court and speak to a clerk or two.

    I am surprised they do not yet send occasional random tickets to 2%-3% in the database. What do they have to lose? Either the person would pay the fine or they would spend hours of their life trying to avoid paying it -- maybe they will be browbeaten into paying a fraction instead.

    • Who did not RTFA? (I say this linked on fark.com a couple of days ago)
      The person with 33 is a woman.

      I'm having problems with the local authority here at present. Parts of the street are designated "residents only" (people have a residents' card which they display) and parts are not. A muppet handing out tickets hands them out although that part of the street does not have those restrictions. The part which does is a one-way street but after a road comes in from the (other) side it becomes two-way and he

      • by gerardrj (207690)

        "...the rules automatically change."
        You need to cite the law that says they change. Until and unless there is a sign or a law that ends the "residents only" parking area the area continues. You blindly assuming the opposite and ranting about it does not make your assumption correct.

        Find the law/ordinance that states your case then show it to the parking enforcement agent and their manager/supervisor.

        • oh no - their masters know full well what the rules are and accept protests immediately, it is the one handing out the tickets who does not 'get it'.

          This happened a couple of years ago and I caught the person responsible a day later. We had a friendly, civilised (really!) exchange of views on the subject and she went off to check. A couple of days later we saw each other again and she apologised, telling me exactly what to write when I objected.

          • by pspahn (1175617)

            I've lived in Capitol Hill for about eight years now. It should go without saying that I have had plenty of parking tickets (though, a good amount of those weren't actually parking tickets, I just happened to be parked at the time).

            For every ticket that was questionable, I went down to the city building, waited a short amount of time to have my story heard, and the tickets were nullified.

            It really couldn't be any easier.

            Also, I actually like a number of the red light cameras. Drivers are actually startin

            • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Sunday July 14, 2013 @02:55PM (#44278761)

              For every ticket that was questionable, I went down to the city building, waited a short amount of time to have my story heard, and the tickets were nullified.

              It really couldn't be any easier.

              Taking time off during the workday to go to court to fight a ticket that shouldn't have been issued in the first place is easy?

              Sounds like Stockholm syndrome to me.

              • For every ticket that was questionable, I went down to the city building, waited a short amount of time to have my story heard, and the tickets were nullified.

                It really couldn't be any easier.

                Taking time off during the workday to go to court to fight a ticket that shouldn't have been issued in the first place is easy?

                Sounds like Stockholm syndrome to me.

                Agreed, and in Chicago - and I'm sure it's true elsewhere - the "court costs" automatically triggered if you fight such a ticket are higher than the ticket. I don't remember off the top-of-my-head, but I believe it costs $65 to fight a $50 ticket. People I've talked to who have fought such tickets, complete with pictures and other evidence, have always lost, so they're out BOTH costs.

    • I would say the system is broken if it was possible to get a vanity plate bearing a number already in use.

      • by Ichijo (607641)
        Sounds like the implementation is a case of in-band signaling [c2.com].
      • by JimBobJoe (2758)

        It must have happened in reverse. The vanity plate was already in use, it was the legislative plate that was added later on.

        And by jove they weren't going to deny the legislator his plate.

    • by edman007 (1097925)

      If they try hard enough you can figure out the owner of that plate with a few well worded searches or alternatively ask a cop or something who probably knows. Once you figure that out you just go directly to the legislator with it, they have far more power and absolutely do want to make the ticket go away. They will handle it for you.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I received a photo radar citation in the mail from Washington D.C. despite the fact that I live several states away and my car has never been driven anywhere near the city. The evidence that was included in the citation was grainy photo of a SUV with license plate numbers similar but different from mine. Seeing as how my plates are registered to a small 4dr Sedan it was obvious that no human had looked at this.

      Long story short, I had to waste about three months and a non-insignificant amount of money to get

    • Our system works, the database works.

      System works as intended, by placing the responsibility of defense on the accused.

      I wonder how long it took for that person with vanity plates 33 to get his ticket annulled. He probably had to go to court and speak to a clerk or two.

      I am surprised they do not yet send occasional random tickets to 2%-3% in the database. What do they have to lose? Either the person would pay the fine or they would spend hours of their life trying to avoid paying it -- maybe they will be browbeaten into paying a fraction instead.

      The picture of the car taken by the photo radar has to match the car on the registration. That is "supposed" to be checked before the ticket is issued. All he had to do was show the court that the photo radar picture didn't match the vehicle description to have the ticket thrown out.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Under administrative law, the defense does have to prove their innocense. It's not like criminal law.

      • by sjames (1099)

        Yes, they invented a new category of law where you still have to pay or else but don't get any of the protections you are guaranteed under criminal law.

        Since you still have to pay or face criminal enforcement, it is constructively criminal law, but the courts typically get a cut of the "no really it's not a fine"s so they dodge that argument.

  • by hedgemage (934558) on Sunday July 14, 2013 @12:26PM (#44277657)
    Why do legislators need special license plates? What sets them apart from us plebs in the rank and file? I'm sure that they don't have problems parking at the statehouse, so other than notifying law enforcement that they're 'special' why different plates?
    • by Trepidity (597)

      As far as I can tell, it's basically a vanity plate that isn't supposed to have any legal difference. You can also get special plates if you're a military veteran, if you have an amateur radio license, and miscellaneous other things.

      It does seem to raise some risk of special treatment, specially in the legislator case.

    • by AHuxley (892839) on Sunday July 14, 2013 @12:39PM (#44277753) Homepage Journal
      Lawmakers driving between legislative events have immunity from prosecution under legislative privilege.
      A tight vote could be swayed by stopping a few key political people.
      So they write in a free movment rule - the ability not to be stopped while going ~to vote.
      • by nitehawk214 (222219) on Sunday July 14, 2013 @12:54PM (#44277875)

        Lawmakers driving between legislative events have immunity from prosecution under legislative privilege.

        A tight vote could be swayed by stopping a few key political people.

        So they write in a free movment rule - the ability not to be stopped while going ~to vote.

        Bullshit. I mean, that is likely the story they tell people....

        The real reason is that no cop is going to pull over and ticket a legislator once they see the plate. Police budgets are set by legislature, don't bite the hand that feeds you. It is the same reason why cops have that FOP (Fraternal Order of Police) sticker on their licence plate or car.

        • Bullshit it's bullshit. It's literally in Article 1 of the Constitution, not even in the bill of rights or precedent or any other such comparatively wishy-washy thing.

          [Members of Congress] shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony, and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their attendance at the Session of their Respective Houses, and in going to and from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place. [wikipedia.org]

          Most state Constitutions are mod

          • The right for them not to be arrested during voting is in the constitution - the implementation that includes distinctive license plates that may form a disincentive to prosecution in any circumstance is not.

          • by sjames (1099)

            That part is true enough. The bullshit part is the explanation for how they somehow ended up at the strip joint shortly after they dodged a ticket because they were 'going to vote' (for the stripper of the month).

            • That may be bullshit, but it comes down to implementation whether you can prevent it without worse consequences. The problem is, if you don't take a representative's word, you're putting some other person in control of whether they can perform their legislative duties, namely the guy who says "yeah there's a vote coming up" (remember - they do votes at all kinds of interesting hours). And putting somebody else in control of that is exactly what this part of the Constitution is trying to prevent. What if the

              • by sjames (1099)

                Actually, they have the evidence and they have a positive ID on the guy. He's not likely a flight risk. Meanwhile, a representative's attendance in the house is a matter of public record.

                They could always suspend the ticket and then check the legislative record. If he's there, the ticket goes away. If not, it arrives at his office the next business day.

                At one time they could just take his word for it and mostly rely on it, but that day seems long ago and far away (though I don't think they had speed limits

          • How is an automated traffic camera arresting or even impeding a member of congress? They wouldn't know about the ticket until it is mailed out, likely after the session ends. Or are we saying the traffic cameras are only for us "little people".

        • by rthille (8526)

          The police chief in town (Sebastopol. You may have heard of it when they refused the free wi-fi Sonic.net was going to install for us) told the story of a motorcycle cop giving another cop a ticket for 28 in a 25 zone. He's (the motorcycle cop) known to be kinda a stickler, but it keeps the speeding down in the downtown area...

      • by manu0601 (2221348)
        I believe legislators are immune from being arrested. Here it is just a fine.
    • Silly rabbit ... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Gription (1006467) on Sunday July 14, 2013 @12:41PM (#44277765)
      Because they made the rules, so of course they made them to their own advantage.
    • by sjames (1099)

      So the snipers know who to shoot at?

  • ...it'll take a year to fix.
  • If civil servants, bureaucrats, the private sector politically connected are getting plates that should be for lawmakers traveling between “legislative events” and using their personal cars would it really show? -
    Could random vanity plate searches just be pointing to a more than a few having special plates?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Accept the 1% "masters" feel you're nothing more than cattle - annoying cattle, nothing more: Accept that rules don't apply to the 1% fools - accept it, idiots! They are clearly above the law, this only shows you more of it, along with their political puppets. Get outta line?? We sick the IRS attack dogs on you, digging for dirt! Do more of that??? Well, then we just 'keep digging' by surveilling every move you make. Don't worry - we will merely "reinterpret" existing laws, putting a "spin" on what they act

  • by sootman (158191) on Sunday July 14, 2013 @01:10PM (#44277973) Homepage Journal

    .... about fucking retarded shitheads like this speaking in public and telling lies?

    "Our system works, the database works. What needs to happen is the state's database need to be complete."

    WRONG, fuckface. 1) If, according to the evidence, the system isn't working, then the system isn't working. Expected behavior: the correct person gets tickets. Observed behavior: the wrong person gets tickets. How can you say that "works"? 2) If a part of the SYSTEM isn't working (like the database), then the SYSTEM isn't working, because a SYSTEM is "a regularly interacting or interdependent group of items forming a unified whole."

    • You're lacking perspective, friend; you assume by 'works' he means 'functions in a technically correct way.'

      As a LEO, I presume his definition has more to do with the revenue generation aspect.

    • You and he are referring to different systems - you to the complete system, including the central database, and he to the system of matching license plates and performing database lookups with that data, which he (presumably) is responsible for.

      If the legislators plates aren't in the database, then there's no conceivable way for the "system" to function correctly, and it's entirely in the hands of the people who maintain the database, not the people who write frontends that can't query non-existent data.

  • > "What needs to happen is the state's database need to be complete."

    That's a true statement. Show of hands: Who believes this will be fixed? Not eventually, but at all?

  • Our system works, the database works. What needs to happen is the state's database need to be complete

    You want me to write the SQL that will correct this for you? I think it'd take me about 10min, but I bill in whole hours so $200? We got a deal or do you want to continue on with this bullshit theory that you can't do anything about it?

  • In most states there are type codes for the different kinds of plates issued. Here in RI I know passenger is 01, amateur radio is 18, and so on. It looks like one of the databases is missing the type info.
  • by Jeremy Erwin (2054) on Sunday July 14, 2013 @01:53PM (#44278281) Journal

    'Our system works, the database works. What needs to happen is the state's database need to be complete.'"

    Sounds as if he's got a one track mind.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Just make your plate say:
    ' ; (Drop Table sysobjects

    Or something akin ..

  • Photo radar tickets in Colorado don't have to be paid anyway [kdvr.com] unless they go to the trouble of serving you in person, which they never do.
    • by jklovanc (1603149)

      Sorry but the writer of the article is incorrect; Here is the pertinent quite from the law;

      (II) If the state, a county, a city and county, or a municipality detects any alleged violation of a municipal traffic regulation or a traffic violation under state law through the use of an automated vehicle identification system, then the state, county, city and county, or municipality shall serve the penalty assessment notice or summons and complaint for the alleged violation on the defendant no later than ninety days after the alleged violation occurred. If a penalty assessment notice or summons and complaint for a violation detected using an automated vehicle identification system is personally served, the state, a county, a city and county, or a municipality may only charge the actual costs of service of process that shall be no more than the amount usually charged for civil service of process.

      The notice has to be served in 90 days. Notice it states that " If a penalty assessment notice or summons and complaint for a violation detected using an automated vehicle identification system is personally served...". That indicates that the notice need not be "personally served". That clause is there to stop authorities from effectively double fining by charging a high fee for personally serving notices.

      • by sjames (1099)

        Unless they send it certified there is a real question if it was properly served or not. Things do actually get lost in the mail. So if they just save cash by sending it by first class mail, they cannot swear that it was actually received.

        As long as the money mostly flows in for minimum effort, they are unlikely to actually go to the trouble of making sure.

        • But we know that the USPS takes pictures to track every piece of mail. Given that this would be a law enforcement effort I'm sure that the police could subpoena the records for the USPS for the letter in question. Good luck doing the same thing when something you send gets lost though.
          • by chihowa (366380)

            There's more to certifying the delivery of mail than proving it was processed at the post office. Actual certified mail is tracked every step of the way, up until you sign for the delivery. My postman misdelivers mail all of the time; it'd be easy to claim I never got a particular piece of mail.

  • by WillyWanker (1502057) on Sunday July 14, 2013 @03:16PM (#44278897)

    ...break it to him, but if legislators aren't getting tickets and innocent civilians are getting tickets that should be going to legislators then your system DOESN'T work. It's BROKEN.

    Not that it should surprise anyone that these "special" plates are conveniently missing from the DMV database and/or treated differently than regular plates. Just an unfortunate coincidence or oversight I'm sure. Riiiiight.

  • by schwit1 (797399) on Sunday July 14, 2013 @03:51PM (#44279127)

    http://www.infowars.com/special-license-plates-shield-officials-from-traffic-tickets/ [infowars.com]

    California DMV "Confidential Records Program," which was created 30 years ago to keep records of police officers private from criminals. The program has since expanded to cover "hundreds of thousands of public employees â" from police dispatchers to museum guards â" who face little threat from the public. Their spouses and children can get the plates, too.

    Drivers covered under the Confidential Records Program abuse the system by evading toll road charges, running red lights at intersections with red light cameras, parking illegally, and breaking other traffic laws with impunity.

  • It seems to be a violation of equal protection under the law.... I as an individual can't go out and get a personal plate assigned to me and not a specific vehicle. Furthermore; I would be subject to getting a ticket from the automated system.

  • My fellow legislators, this situation is an outrage. I have been receiving letters from my constituents angry that this legislative body has placed itself above the law, and that we are not subject to paying traffic fines like everyone else. I have promised my constituents that I will IMMEDIATELY take action on this issue. As such, I hereby move that my bill, Equality Under Law Act (EULA), be scheduled for a floor vote at the beginning of the next legislative session. Thank You. God Bless America.

    Let the re

  • by Xicor (2738029)
    or they should just stop wasting money and realize that speeding doesnt cause accidents
  • "how conveeeneit".... Legislator plates are license to speed and courtesy if we smell alcohol but you aren't smashed......

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