1. Free Legal Help, Legal Forms and Lawyers. TheLaw.com has been providing free legal assistance online since 1995. Our most popular destinations for legal help are below. It only takes a minute to join our legal community!

    Dismiss Notice

Does the City of Portland Oregon Have a Law Requiring a Front License Plate?

Discussion in 'Speeding Tickets, Traffic & Moving Violations' started by SBE53, Jul 17, 2019.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. SBE53

    SBE53 Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Jurisdiction:
    Oregon
    My car was parked on a street within the City of Portland when I was ticketed for violating section 16.20.120-R of Portland's Charter Code and Policies ("...it is unlawful to park or stop a vehicle...that is required by law to display two registration plates if a plate is not displayed on the front and the rear of the vehicle").

    At trial the issuing officer admitted that the car wasn't in operation nor had he seen the car in operation (ORS 801.370). I argued that ORS 803.540 only makes it an offense to operate a vehicle without a front plate (or any plate for that matter) so I wasn't guilty of an offense under 16.20.120-R

    The judge said he'd been on the bench for 28 years and that the City of Portland had it's own law requiring front license plates be displayed.

    I've searched the City Code can't find one. Does anyone know if it exists? Ticketing people who are parked for a moving violation they didn't commit seems wrong to me and I'd like to appeal.
     
  2. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

    Messages:
    10,649
    Likes Received:
    1,662
    Trophy Points:
    113

    It appears you cited it above...

    803.525 requires both plates unless your vehicle meets one of the listed exceptions.
     
  3. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

    Messages:
    30,990
    Likes Received:
    4,436
    Trophy Points:
    113

    Oregon Plate Requirements
    You will get either one plate or two plates depending on the vehicle you have. Plates must be displayed correctly on the vehicle.

    One plate, for the back of the vehicle, is issued to:

    Mopeds
    Motorcycles
    Trailers
    Campers
    Antique
    Special interest

    Two plates are issued to all other vehicles. One plate is for the foremost point of the front of the vehicle and the other is for the rearmost point of the back of the vehicle.

    You cannot:

    Alter your plates; or
    Have a frame that covers the numbers, letters, or tags/stickers.

    Contact Us:

    Oregon Department of Transportation : Contact Us : Oregon Driver & Motor Vehicle Services : State of Oregon


    Oregon DMV
    1905 Lana Ave NE
    Salem, OR 97314
    1-503-945-5000

    Oregon Department of Transportation : License Plates : Oregon Driver & Motor Vehicle Services : State of Oregon
     
  4. SBE53

    SBE53 Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    The State statute only requires a vehicle to have plates when in operation. The City statute only makes it violation to park a car without plates if the vehicle is required to have plates. A parked car doesn't require plates according to the State statute, so unless there is a different, City statute requiring plates they City shouldn't be ticketing. Hence why I'm trying to see if such a City statute exist. So far I can't find any.

    Army Judge, what you quote is correct by only required of a car that is in operation. My car was parked and by admission of the citing officer, not in operation, so no plates are required under the statute you reference. See ORS 803.540 and ORS 801.370.

    Mightly Mouse the City statute only makes it a violation if the parked car is required to have plates. The State statute doesn't require this. The judge claims there is a second City statute that does. I can't find one. The question is whether he's right.

    803.525 describes how many plates will be issued. It doesn't address when they are required to be displayed. That's covered by ORS 803.540 and ORS 801.370 and it's only when the car is in operation, not parked.
     
  5. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

    Messages:
    30,990
    Likes Received:
    4,436
    Trophy Points:
    113

    I have no dog in your fight.

    I suggest you endeavor to convince the judge that will preside over your case.

    I am a disinterested party in the entire matter.

    If you prevail, bully for you.

    If the state prevails, bully for the state (as in city).

    I don't care what the outcome is.
     
  6. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

    Messages:
    6,951
    Likes Received:
    1,606
    Trophy Points:
    113

    That's where you are wrong. Your defense doesn't hold water because ORS 803.540 doesn't say that at all. Here's the entire section.

    2017 Oregon Revised Statutes :: Volume : 17 - Utilities, Vehicle Code, Watercraft, Aviation, Constitutions :: Chapter 803 - Vehicle Title and Registration :: Section 803.540 - Failure to display plates; exceptions; penalty.

    And 801.370 only defines the word "operation":

    2017 Oregon Revised Statutes :: Volume : 17 - Utilities, Vehicle Code, Watercraft, Aviation, Constitutions :: Chapter 801 - General Provisions and Definitions for Oregon Vehicle Code :: Section 801.370 - "Operation."

    803.525 says two plates per vehicle that isn't an exception.

    You parked on the street. You operated your vehicle on that street to get to that parking space. You didn't have a front plate. You were in violation.

    Your logic is faulty. But you are welcome to file an appeal with the next higher court and see if you can get the judge's decision overturned.
     
  7. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

    Messages:
    10,649
    Likes Received:
    1,662
    Trophy Points:
    113

    I can't imagine any reasonable person would believe it is ok to park a car on the street with no license plates so long as it is not in operation.
    The car had to get there somehow, and must somehow leave.
    You are clearly trying to split hairs over the use of one word and are not giving consideration to the obvious intent of the law. I doubt your argument will get you far, but you are free to appeal and try.
     
  8. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    507
    Likes Received:
    251
    Trophy Points:
    63

    Sorry Jack, but your logic is faulty to the extent you are concluding that the OP must have driven the car to that spot without the front plate. There are several possibilities that would account for the car getting to that spot and not having a front license plate that do not involve the OP driving the car there with the plate missing:

    1. The vehicle was towed to that spot.
    2. The front plate was removed after the car was parked in that spot.

    While it is not likely that either of those circumstances were involved, since they are possible you cannot conclude with certainty that the OP had driven the car there without the front plate on the information we have.
     
  9. SBE53

    SBE53 Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    ORS 803.540 says "A person commits the offense of failure to display registration plates if the person operates, on the highways of this state, any vehicle or camper that has been assigned registration plates by this state..."

    As I read that you only commit an offense if you operate a vehicle on the highway without plates. Oregon doesn't make it a crime to park a car on the street without plates. So for example if your car is registered with valid plates and you decide not to renew the registration when it expires it's Ok to leave it parked on a public road. You can't drive it, but you can leave it parked where it is.

    That would mean a car can't be held in violation of ORS 803.540 merely because its parked on a public road because it's missing it's front plate. The officer would have to see the vehicle in operation to issue a citation.

    Portland seems to be the only place that tickets vehicles that aren't in operation. The reason the judge gave for their authority to do this is that he claimed there is an as yet unfound City ordnance that requires all vehicles to have both plates regardless of they are in operation or not. I'm trying to find this statute. So far I can't. If it doesn't exist I'm having trouble understand how Portland can ticket cars since the statute they are citing under only applies to vehicles that are required to have plates and nothing in the State code requires this for a parked car.
     
  10. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,337
    Likes Received:
    744
    Trophy Points:
    113

    Towing is not an exception:

    ORS 801.370 - “Operation” - 2017 Oregon Revised Statutes
    “Operation.” “Operation” means any operation, towing, pushing, movement or otherwise propelling. [1983 c.338 §66]

    Even if transported on a flat bed tow-truck, the car would have to have been moved on the roadway at some point.

    I suppose that, if the OP wants to perjure himself, he could try that defense...
     
  11. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    507
    Likes Received:
    251
    Trophy Points:
    63



    My only point was that Adjuster Jack's statement "You operated your vehicle on that street to get to that parking space" was not logical because there are other possibilities that could account for the vehicle getting where it was without having "operated [the] vehicle on that street." I have taken no position on whether the ordinance was violated as I have not read the through the ordinance and state statute nor do I intend to do that.
     
  12. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,337
    Likes Received:
    744
    Trophy Points:
    113

    Fair enough :)
     
  13. SBE53

    SBE53 Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    The point that is being missed is that the violation was for parking the car without a front plate. I wasn't charged with operating the car without plates. Whether I did so or not is not at issue. The only question before the court was whether there was a violation of the City statute that requires cars parked or stopped to have a front plate IF a front plate is required. Parked cars are not required to have a front plate under State law so unless there is a City statute that requires parked cars to have one then there was no violation.

    It doesn't matter how the car came to be parked because I was not charged with operating a vehicle without a front plate. That it may, or may not, have occurred was not an issue before the court because it wasn't what I was cited for. No one asked me if I had operated the car without a front plate nor did the officer see the car operated without a front plate. Had he then he could could have cited me and that would be fine.

    The only question is whether the City can cite a parked car for not having a front plate. The City statute say they can but ONLY if the car was required to have one. Since State law doesn't require plates on a car unless they are in operation then the answer is no. The officer would have to have SEEN the car being operated. But the citing officer stated under oath he hadn't so it all comes down to whether or not a City law requiring plates when the car is parked or at all times exists and that's what I'm trying to find out. I've read the entire City code and can't find it, but it's hard to prove a negative. Maybe its somewhere I haven't looked, hence my post.
     
  14. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

    Messages:
    30,990
    Likes Received:
    4,436
    Trophy Points:
    113

    This thread is closed, as the question has been asked and answered, several suggestions have been offered.

    Closing the thread will put an end to the back and forth and the "mano mas macho" banter!

    C L O S E D, do NOT open another on this or a similar topic, thank you!
     

Share This Page

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.