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Lightbar legality ? and moving vs equipment violation help (LEO)

Discussion in 'Law Enforcement Officers' started by ProForce, Aug 18, 2012.

  1. Aug 18, 2012 at 4:02 AM
    #1
    ProForce

    ProForce [OP] Thin Blue Line

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    Question to LEO's regarding CA PC.

    So I recently installed a rear facing directional lightbar seen here:

    [​IMG]


    As you can see, the bar has 6 amber lights in the middle with 1 red light at each end. It is a full directional bar with arrow stick and flash pattern capabilities. I Have 2 uses for this light: First being off-road use, and second for my security job.

    I looked up various California Penal Codes to double check the legality of this light and this is what I found:

    PERSONAL AND WORK USE:

    25268. No person shall display a flashing amber warning light on a
    vehicle as permitted by this code except when an unusual traffic
    hazard exists.

    25269. No person shall display a flashing or steady burning red
    warning light on a vehicle except as permitted by Section 21055(Pertains to LE vehicles) or when an extreme hazard exists.
    25279. (a) Vehicles owned and operated by private security agencies
    and utilized exclusively on privately owned and maintained roads to
    which this code is made applicable by local ordinance or resolution,
    may display flashing amber warning lights to the front, sides, or
    rear, while being operated in response to emergency calls for the
    immediate preservation of life or property.
    (Truck is not registered to my company, but it is still being used directly for work related usage)

    OHV USE:

    38346 CVC. A person shall not display a flashing or steady burning red or blue warning light on an off-highway motor vehicle except as permitted by Section 21055 or when an extreme hazard exists.



    With all this information in mind, if I follow the law directly as stated above and ONLY use this light when "an extreme/unusual hazard exists" or during work for "the preservation of life or property," would any reasonable officer cite me to be in violation of any PC or CVC??

    If I were to get pulled over on the freeway for speeding, and during the traffic stop the officer asks me what the purpose of my light is and I state that it is for OHV and work purposes only, and he asks me to turn it on, should I or do I have to comply? If I dont, I am sure he/she will find PC to toss the truck anyways and just turn it on himself, so being that I would most likely cooperate and show him the light, can I be cited if the light was NOT in use other than when instructed by the LEO to turn it on??

    I have no bad or negative intentions with this light whatsoever, but as a LEO, if you saw this bar on a truck like the pic shows, would you stop me, and if so, would you cite if the light is/was not in use?? Remember though, if the light is not on, you have no idea what color the lights are, and for all you know, on a truck like mine, its most likely for OHV or construction use from the looks of it.

    My other question is: IF I am cited for this light, is this a moving or equipment violation? And do equipment only violations get reported to DMV as a point just as moving violations do?

    Comments/suggestions/concerns would all be appreciated. Thanks!!
     
  2. Aug 18, 2012 at 11:02 AM
    #2
    ProForce

    ProForce [OP] Thin Blue Line

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  3. Aug 18, 2012 at 11:06 AM
    #3
    CayucosTacoma

    CayucosTacoma Just think outside the Yota

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    Curious too.
     
  4. Aug 18, 2012 at 11:12 AM
    #4
    MightyMouse-SCT

    MightyMouse-SCT Well-Known Member

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    Don't turn them on while street driving . Should be fine .
     
  5. Aug 18, 2012 at 11:15 AM
    #5
    TMW

    TMW Well-Known Member

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    Take it to a CHP office and ask them or call ahead and ask. Also maybe the local cops and sheriff too to see if they all agree or not.
     
  6. Aug 18, 2012 at 11:34 AM
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    CantSitStill

    CantSitStill Well-Known Member

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    Curious what use these lights have offroad or for your job.
     
  7. Aug 18, 2012 at 11:43 AM
    #7
    BamaToy1997

    BamaToy1997 ASE Master Tech Vendor

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    I would think that you should be fine (obviously best to ask) but either way, I know Cali law is no different, if he asks you to turn them on, you are not required by law to do so. Also, without a warrant he has no right to (toss your truck) if you tell him no. I have seen in other states where a lawyer would suggest that you call a lawyer if the police officer attempts to detain you while trying to get a warrant to search your truck. You have rights, and many police do not know, or do not care, about your rights when in your own POV.
    Just my $.02 worth!
     
  8. Aug 18, 2012 at 1:13 PM
    #8
    SFSMedic

    SFSMedic Well-Known Member

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    As for tossing the car its called plain view and if they have reasonable suspicion good luck denying plain view which pretty much covers anywhere not accessible or locked.

    I know for the front off road lamps you can get a ticket for not having them covered. Maybe make a cover for those that can easily be removed when you need them?
     
  9. Aug 18, 2012 at 2:19 PM
    #9
    Rich91710

    Rich91710 Well-Known Member

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    I've never had a problem with either a pair of Wheelen strobes on the roof rack, or rear-facing "box" lights in the rear window, but they have always been amber only, and of course, never used in motion (I can't even legally run the strobes on my city truck in motion above 5mph or when outside of a work zone).

    I think the only potential problem you might have is the red corners. If they can be changed, I'd swap them out for amber.
    Amber would be covered under "unusual traffic hazard" for something as simple as being parked on the side of a busy roadway where one might not be expected to park (but it does not allow you the right to park illegally unless the vehicle is disabled).

    Red would be much harder to justify, as a civilian should not be putting themselves in a situation where the red light would be warranted.


    But nobody is going to give you any shit over amber as long as it's not turned on when in motion. I heard of ONE tech from Victorville who had a CHP officer tell him that his strobes needed to be covered unless he was actively working.


    It would be an equipment violation as long as you are not rolling with the lights on, BUT, the officer has the option to flag the cite as "non-correctable" meaning that in addition to correcting the equipment violation, there is also a fine...

    The whole "non-correctable" thing comes up every now and then on what would normally be a "fixit", and in many cases it happens because someone failed the attitude check.
    Common cases are window tint and blacked out tails/tinted headlights.
    The officer's attitude is often that a burned out tail is an unforeseen event, and an honest equipment violation... correctable... $40, if he even gives you a ticket (most likely not)
    Tint, ride height, HID, tires beyond fenders, etc... those are all things that are not the result of an equipment failure due to wear/age... those are things that the owner intentionally did, likely knowing it was illegal. More likely to be tagged as "non-correctable". Long Beach was hammering motorcyclists for their pipes on this a few years ago.
     
  10. Aug 18, 2012 at 2:25 PM
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    ProForce

    ProForce [OP] Thin Blue Line

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    Sooo, even if I did get cited for this light, and they made it "non-correctable" does that mean it gets reported to DMV just like a speeding ticket, or does that just mean a nice hefty fine comes with it, but its still not worth a point??
     
  11. Aug 18, 2012 at 2:36 PM
    #11
    aptech

    aptech Jetfixer

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    [​IMG]
     
  12. Aug 18, 2012 at 2:50 PM
    #12
    IronPig

    IronPig Well-Known Member

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    The first question I have is WHY do you need this light bar?? When are you going to face an extreme condition where life/property is in danger? Directing people away from a sink hole? If I were on patrol and I saw this on your car I probably would not think much of it (if it were off). If you were driving around with it on, well, that is a moth to a flame and I would have to see what/why you have these on your ride.

    As far as getting cited, this would be a mechanical/equipment violation and would not count as a point against you. Even if made "non-correctable" it is still not a point. All that means is you either have to go to Court to explain to the judge why you have these, or pay the fine for having these. Not a huge deal really.

    Again, I would not pull you over simply for having these, but I am sure there are cops out there that might. I have been doing this 15 years and counting, and I would not bat an eye. It is kinda weird though.
     
  13. Aug 18, 2012 at 3:27 PM
    #13
    ProForce

    ProForce [OP] Thin Blue Line

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    :rofl: that's great!!

    And yeah I honestly highly highly doubt any cop would make a big deal of they are ONLY being used at work or when a hazard exists. I would just be asking for it any other time I know that.

    Example: last night around 0130 I was driving around (on duty for work btw, not that it matters though) on a regular city street and while approaching very busy intersection, I see a Prius (you'll get the irony in a second ;)) stopped in the middle turn lane with its hazards on. I noticed the vehicle was protruding into oncoming traffic slightly without headlights, and a young girl sitting in the driver seat.... to me I see the as a potentially very dangerous situation. Since I have the the necessary warning lights and proper training on traffic control, I decided to stop and lend a hand. I stopped behind the vehicle and turned all my lights on; the rear bar, front lights, and wig-wags. Made contact with driver, turns out her Prius ran out of gas :rofl: I assisted her in moving the vehicle to a safe position, then left. During all this, 1 PD unit was pulling traffic right behind me about 50ft away, and another unit passed right by my without thinking twice.

    Point of the story, are the flashing red lights illegal? Yes. I know this and so do the cops. Do they really care as long as they are being used legitimately? Most likely no.

    My only concern is if I get stopped by someone in a bad mood (and yes it happens, trust me. Not all cops are perfect) for any reason, could be speeding or even my tint or wheels past fenders etc. If they find PC to search the truck and turn on the light, even though it was not in use, its still illegal if not covered. I know this already. But my concern is, IF I do get cited, will it be a point, or just a fine and a headache.
     
  14. Aug 18, 2012 at 3:30 PM
    #14
    ProForce

    ProForce [OP] Thin Blue Line

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    EXACTLY what I was looking for. Thanks. And my previous post has an example of it being used (last night) Do you think that was justified as an "unusual traffic hazard" since the vehicle was protruding into oncoming traffic at night with no headlights?
     
  15. Aug 18, 2012 at 3:31 PM
    #15
    ProForce

    ProForce [OP] Thin Blue Line

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    Good question.. :confused:
     
  16. Aug 18, 2012 at 3:57 PM
    #16
    Rich91710

    Rich91710 Well-Known Member

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    No points, reported to DMV, but not a moving violation unless he tags for use/display under one of the violations you quoted.

    Fine for a correctable equipment violation is around $40. Non-correctable would be in the hundreds.

    But what you have... without the red corners (or if you can't tell that they are red when the lights are off), I'd drive around cop shops every day and not have a 2nd thought.

    My Silverado.... only lights I covered were the 4 Hella's on top.
    I also had the two "alley" lights on the corners and two more facing rear on the roof rack.
    Never got pulled over in 45,000 miles over the 2 years I had that truck.

    [​IMG]
     
  17. Aug 18, 2012 at 4:12 PM
    #17
    Rich91710

    Rich91710 Well-Known Member

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    Another thing I never had a problem with.

    I TRIED to remember to cover them... but I only made damned sure I covered them after I did my monthly "circle in a parking lot at night" to check for burned out lighting that I noticed that when they were not covered, they were a VERY bright red from the 3rd brake light reflection.

    Company that installed the cap now removes the lamps from the high mount, but they didn't do that in 2005.

    The front lights are low enough, and being only 55 watt, as long as I only ran them with the high beams, and as long as my lows and fogs shut off properly, they were legal at that height without being covered.

    I wired them without a switch... just relayed them off of the high beams.


    The roof rack was powered by a pair of 30a circuits going into a Pelican box in which I had made a relay bank.
    Two of the big lights and the front corner lights, and strobes were on one circuit, the other two big lights and the rear lights were on the other.
    The relays were switched from here:

    [​IMG]
     
  18. Aug 18, 2012 at 4:16 PM
    #18
    ProForce

    ProForce [OP] Thin Blue Line

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    Yep. Stupid law. But all my problems would be solved if I simply made a cover for them. Even though all the lenses are clear and don't look red. A cover would make it legal to have, still not to use :(

    And to answers everyone's "why" do I "need" them.... I dont. But I have them and I will use them when needed. But I don't "need" any of it technically. It just comes in handy.

    And someone asked me why would I have a use at work even, well I actually would use then a lot at work. I used my old smaller bar all the time. Almost every shift in fact. Just last week I went 10-14 with fire and medical because they could not locate the the incident. I turned everything on and had a fire truck, ambulance, and 2 units following behind me code 2. Only for about a mile, but it was a critical incident and nobody cared. I get its still not legal. But using only when necessary I think I'll be fine. Only time will tell I suppose.
     
  19. Aug 18, 2012 at 4:21 PM
    #19
    Rich91710

    Rich91710 Well-Known Member

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    Okay... if the lenses are clear, I wouldn't sweat the red corners.
     
  20. Aug 18, 2012 at 4:38 PM
    #20
    ProForce

    ProForce [OP] Thin Blue Line

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    So are these just red ans blue switches or are they red and blue exterior lighting :confused:
     
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