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ACLU: Ellisville Illegally Prosecuting Drivers Who Flash Headlights, Charging $1,000 Fines

Categories: Crime, News

speed limits 1.jpg
via
In the city of Ellisville police officers are regularly issuing citations to drivers who flash their headlights as warnings to other drivers -- and then charging them with fines as high as $1,000.

So says the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri, which is challenging the city for a policy that the group says violates First Amendment protections of drivers.

"It's ridiculous," Tony Rothert, ACLU-EM legal director, tells Daily RFT. "There are a lot of reasons to flash your lights."

In a formal complaint, full document on view below, the ACLU argues that it's not only an unfair police tactic -- it also breaches basic constitutional rights.

Daily RFT left messages today with the city attorney and another city official, and we will update if we hear back.

The case was brought forward on behalf of driver Michael Elli, who the ACLU says was driving along Kiefer Creek Road last November when he flashed his headlights to warn oncoming traffic to "proceed with caution."

He was subsequently pulled over by an Ellisville police officer and issued a citation for "flashing lights to warn of radar ahead."

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When he appeared in municipal court, the ACLU says, "he was told the standard punishment is a $1,000 fine." That charge was eventually dismissed -- but now city officials will have to address this policy in court.

Rothert tells us that the ACLU has clear evidence that this is a regular practice of Ellisville police and not just a one-time incident.

"We've learned from city of Ellisville officials that this is a commonly charged offense," he says.

Continue for more details on the ACLU allegations and the full complaint.


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16 comments
crashtest
crashtest

The Radar-Racketeers have no shame when it comes to protecting their revenue stream. Go get 'em ACLU!

marigolds6
marigolds6

They cited under the wrong section. Flashing your brights at an oncoming driver is dangerous and illegal.

Dimming of lights, when--violation, penalty.

307.070. 1. Every person driving a motor vehicle equipped with multiple-beam road lighting equipment, during the times when lighted lamps are required, shall use a distribution of light, or composite beam, directed high enough and of sufficient intensity to reveal persons and vehicles at a safe distance in advance of the vehicle, subject to the following requirements and limitations: Whenever the driver of a vehicle approaches an oncoming vehicle within five hundred feet, or is within three hundred feet to the rear of another vehicle traveling in the same direction, the driver shall use a distribution of light or composite beam so aimed that the glaring rays are not projected into the eyes of the other driver, and in no case shall the high-intensity portion which is projected to the left of the prolongation of the extreme left side of the vehicle be aimed higher than the center of the lamp from which it comes at a distance of twenty-five feet ahead, and in no case higher than a level of forty-two inches above the level upon which the vehicle stands at a distance of seventy-five feet ahead.

2. Notwithstanding the provisions of section 307.120, violation of this section is an infraction."

Dave Manning
Dave Manning

I wish more people would give a "flash" warning... I do it and some people look at ya like yur a fucktard.... I guess people don't teach their kids these vital road skills.

Manchesterelli
Manchesterelli

Keep all levels of government in check at all times!

JamesMadison
JamesMadison topcommenter

I recommend everyone traveling through Ellisville slow to 15-20 mph. Make huge traffic jams. Get a party of people to make random left turns further blocking traffic. 


It cannot be consider illegal to advise people to NOT break the law.

James Madison
James Madison

Amazing. Asking someone not to break the law is now a crime? A simple weekly protest will get their attention - drive 15-20 mph through Ellisville. You'll back up all traffic. Make sure you drive with your lights on for safety, too. Use your flasher if you slow below 15 mph.

Steve Hatfalvi
Steve Hatfalvi

They hate to lose that revenue so it's us that pay the lost wages.

Karen Gagich
Karen Gagich

this shows you statutes have not been violated only uniformed personnel seem to be at fault here

Meg Ante
Meg Ante

Jebus, I'd see red forever if I got a ticket for flashing my lights.

Barry Bean
Barry Bean

Sounds like a great way to turn traffic into a cash cow! Milk'em if they speed, milk'em more if they don't! Also sounds like a great reason to spend my own money far away from Ellisville!

Esteban Mainzer
Esteban Mainzer

do the cops have PROOF you flashed your lights? unless they have video of it...i'd let them give me a ticket, then make them prove it in court.

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