The Surprisingly Filthy Reason Idaho Police Officers Can Pull You Over
Hooptie Tickets & Cadillac Dreams
It's rush hour. You were driving at the speed of slow in your 2008 Dodge Journey when an Eagle Police Officer pulls you over for God knows what reason. As you're waiting for the cop to run your plates, it's impossible to ignore how filthy your ride is. Yikes!
It was black when you bought it, but you haven't had a car wash in so long that's it more of an off-black color these days; sort of like the bags under your eyes. The exterior plastic pieces have faded to gray and the body looks like it was beat with a bag nickels. Neighborhood teens frequently scribble "WASH ME" and obscenities like male appendages in the film on the back windshield.
Even if you had time to run it through the car wash, would you really want to show off the rusted-out wheel wells or the dent from your kid's 10-speed crashing into it last summer? Probably not.
As you start dreaming of the Cadillac you thought you'd own by now, the officer approaches your Dodge hooptie. You weren't speeding. You didn't blow a red light (that time, at least). And your license plates and registration were just renewed. So what's up?
Idaho's Dirty Driving Law
That's when Officer Smith hands you a ticket for your filthy license plate! Wait, what?! He explains that your car can be filthier than a pig rollin' in a pen of s#!t; that's of no concern to local law enforcement. However, according to Idaho Code 49-428, Display of Plate and Stickers, Idahoans must comply with the following license plate standards:
Every license plate shall at all times be securely fastened to the vehicle to which it is assigned to [...] [and] be in a place and position to be clearly visible, and be maintained free from foreign materials and in a condition to be clearly legible, and all registration stickers shall be securely attached to the license plates and shall be displayed as provided in section 49-443(4).
Welp...it's not like he's wrong, but at the same time, it doesn't feel fair. Your grimy license plate just cost you $67.00 and a sudsy date in your driveway with the garden hose.