02 February 2003

My Web Site

A wrong-minded opinion about seatbelt laws. Making seatbelt infractions a primary offense will not lead to greater usage but it will lead to a greater infringement on your rights if you drive a car (you already have basically have no rights if you are driving a car).

I repeat my blawg when I first heard heard there was an attempt to make this a primary offense back on 20 Jan 03:

"This is bad. Police stops in Virginia are already a joke. Virginia courts refuse to protect citizens from shakedown stops as long as the officer proclaims a "reasonable articulable suspicion" of illegal activity.** This usually translates as police with suspicion of a crime but absolutely no probable cause pulling over a car because of a very minor traffic infraction. The citizen finds himself stopped by a uniformed officer, a street drugs unit, and a K-9 unit just because he didn't signal his turn properly. Most of the time the officers don't even write a citation. If they find something serious the citizen goes to jail; if they don't, the citizen is allowed to leave with a warning.

Don't think the officers will use seatbelts as a reason? I'm sure of it. A judge in Chesterfield County recently ruled that having an air freshener hanging from your rear view mirror is "reasonable articulable suspicion" for a stop despite the fact that the Commonwealth itself hands out things to hang from rearview mirrors (handicap tags).

** Although many States provide a great deal of protection to their citizens thru the States' constitutions, Virginia courts refuse to accord any power to the rights enumerated in the Virginia constitution. They will enforce only the bare minimum standards imposed upon them by the federal constitution thru the federal supreme court."

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