635 N.E.2d 79 (Ohio Co. 1993), 93-TRD-7271, Trotwood v. Sampson

Docket Nº:93-TRD-7271.
Citation:635 N.E.2d 79, 63 Ohio Misc.2d 504
Opinion Judge:JEFFREY E. FROELICH, Judge.
Attorney:David Fuschman, Trotwood Pros. Atty., for plaintiff. Michael R. Sampson, pro se. [63 Ohio Misc.2d 505]
Case Date:October 14, 1993
Court:County Court of Ohio

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635 N.E.2d 79 (Ohio Co. 1993)

63 Ohio Misc.2d 504




No. 93-TRD-7271.

Montgomery County Court of Ohio.

October 14, 1993

David Fuschman, Trotwood Pros. Atty., for plaintiff.

Michael R. Sampson, pro se. [63 Ohio Misc.2d 505]


On August 17, 1993, in Trotwood, Montgomery County, Ohio, defendant Michael R. Sampson received a citation for allegedly violating R.C. 4513.05. If anything, this case emphasizes that while penalties may vary from statute to statute and be relatively minor when compared to another, there is no such thing as a small case or insignificant rights afforded to a defendant.

The relevant part of R.C. 4513.05 reads as follows:

"Either a tail light or a separate light shall be so constructed and placed as to illuminate with a white light the rear registration plate * * * and render it legible from a distance of fifty feet to the rear."

The court finds from the evidence at the trial that the defendant separately wired a small purple neon light around his front and

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rear license plates. This light basked the plate in the glow of the purple neon and was in addition to the standard, factory-produced, white license plate light for the 1989 Pontiac Firebird. The parties agree and the court finds that the registration plate is as legible, if not more so, from a distance of fifty feet to the rear as it is when only illuminated by the white light.

The city argues that the statute requires that the rear registration plate be illuminated with a white light. As justification for such statute, if such justification were needed, the city argues that a purple neon light interferes with the officer's ability to discern the actual colors of the plate and therefore the ability to determine which state issued the plate. The defendant argues that the statute requires a white light illumination and legibility at fifty feet and that his vehicle still has the white light and the registration plate is legible at fifty feet.

The prosecution cites Ohio Adm.Code 4501-15-04(j)(3) and 4501-15-02. Unfortunately, these sections do not help much, since while they seem to require a white light, they do not specifically prohibit additional colors or address a combination of colors. R.C. 4511.01, while defining everything from "explosives" to "ride sharing arrangement," does not...

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