County Traffic Court: TRAFFIC INFRACTIONS – Evidence supported conviction for improper display of a license tag where the tag on a motorcycle was attached vertically instead of horizontally. Tag not plainly visible and legible. Judgment and sentence affirmed. Montanez v. State, No. CRC 05-55 APANO, (Fla. 6th Cir.App.Ct. May 25, 2006).

 

 

NOT FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES FOR REHEARING

AND, IF FILED, DETERMINED

 

IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE SIXTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT

OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA IN AND FOR PINELLAS COUNTY

 

JOSE LUIS MONTANEZ

            Appellant,

 

v.                                                                                                                                           Appeal No. CRC 05-55 APANO

UCN522005AP00055XXXXCR

STATE OF FLORIDA

            Appellee.

__________________________/

 

Opinion filed _______________.

 

Appeal from a judgment and sentence

entered by the Pinellas County Court

Traffic Magistrate Carolee Blackmon

 

J. Stanford Lifsey, Esq.

Attorney for appellant

 

Heather Rose Cramer, Esq.

Attorney for appellee

ORDER AND OPINION

 

            THIS MATTER is before the Court on the defendant, Jose Luis Montanez’s, appeal from a judgment and sentence entered by the Pinellas County Court. After reviewing the briefs and record, this Court affirms the judgment and sentence.

            The defendant was found guilty of violating §316.605, Fla. Stat. (2005) --- improper display of a license tag. The defendant had his license tag attached to his motorcycle, but instead of it being attached horizontally, it was attached vertically. The defendant contends that the statute says nothing about the license tag having to be attached horizontally; therefore, his motion to dismiss should have been granted.

            The statute requires that:

every vehicle … shall … display the license plate or both of the

license plates assigned to it by the state, one on the rear and, if

two, the other on the front of the vehicle, each to be securely

fastened to the vehicle outside the main body of the vehicle

in such a manner as to prevent the plates from swinging, and

all letters, numerals, printing, writing, and other identification

marks upon the plates regarding the word “Florida,” the

registration decal, and the alphanumeric designation shall be

clear and distinct and free from defacement, mutilation, grease,

and other obscuring matter, so that they will be plainly visible

and legible at all times 100 feet from the rear or front.”

 

Clearly what is required by the statute is that the license tag be plainly visible and legible --- not just that it be plainly visible and legible if you tilt your head to the side. The purpose of the statute is obviously for law enforcement and the general public to quickly and easily identify the license tag. That purpose is thwarted if the license tag is vertical. Therefore, a license tag that is vertical is not in compliance with the statutory requirement that it be plainly visible and legible. The judgment and sentence, therefore, is affirmed.

            IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the judgment and sentence is affirmed.

            DONE AND ORDERED in Chambers at Clearwater, Pinellas County, Florida this _____ day of May, 2006.

                                                                        ____________________________

                                                                                    J. Thomas McGrady

                                                                                    Circuit Judge

 

 

                                                                        ________________________________

                                                                                    R. Timothy Peters

                                                                                    Circuit Judge

 

 

                                                                        __________________________________

                                                                                    John A. Schaefer

                                                                                    Circuit Judge

cc:        Heather Rose Cramer, Esq.

            J. Stanford Lifsey, Esq.

            Traffic Hearing Officer Blackmon