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Thread: Been ticketed for a 15" touchscreen in my car. I'm preparing my defense...

  1. #1
    Low Bitrate perpetualjon's Avatar
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    Been ticketed for a 15" touchscreen in my car. I'm preparing my defense...

    So last month I was pulled over here in Southern California and ticketed for having a 15" touchscreen in my car being powered by a "headless" laptop. You can check out my build here. I also have a YouTube video of my setup.

    Here was the conversation with the officer:

    OFFICER: So what'cha got there?
    ME: A 15" touchscreen.
    OFFICER: You can't have that.
    ME: Yes I can.
    OFFICER: No you can't.
    ME: Then what about all the GPS devices and in-car displays out there?
    OFFICER: They can't play video.
    ME: Yes they can.
    OFFICER: No they can't.
    ME: Ok...

    It was at that point that I realized that I was not going to convince this guy of the color of the sky let alone anything else he'd set his mind to. I also hadn't really thought of preparing a defense for what I had installed and drove for nearly 4 years now. Hell, I'd been pulled over SO many times before and NEVER had an officer even consider this to be a possibly illegal setup. In fact, most of the officers that asked me about it (and very few even bothered to ask) thought it was rather cool more than anything else. In any event, I have a court date the end of August and I'm preparing my arguments and defense of the matter and figured I'd solicit your thoughts on the matter...

    The California Vehicle Code regarding this issue is as follows:

    27602. (a) A person shall not drive a motor vehicle if a television receiver, a video monitor, or a television or video screen, or any other( )1 similar means of visually displaying a television broadcast or video signal that produces entertainment or business applications, is operating and is located in the motor vehicle at a point forward of the back of the driverís seat, or is operating and the monitor, screen, or display is visible to the driver while driving the motor vehicle.

    (b) Subdivision (a) does not apply to the following equipment when installed in a vehicle:

    (1) A vehicle information display.

    (2) A global positioning display.

    (3) A mapping display.


    I have highlighted two sections of the vehicle code that I think are relevant to my defense. First of all, I have removed all video codecs from my XP setup so technically my laptop isn't even capable of playing video. That should cover the first section of the vehicle code. Secondly, my system is running both a GPS and mapping display so I think that creates an exemption even if the first part didn't fly...

    Still, what do you guys think about my case and my chances?

  2. #2
    Maximum Bitrate tft_lcd_org's Avatar
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    You will probably lose unless you pay for a lawyer that has experience with this.

    The problem with the law you quoted is it is written as such that the burden of proof is on you, not Johnny Law.

    Since this part pertains to you,

    "or video signal that produces entertainment or business applications, is operating and is located in the motor vehicle at a point forward of the back of the driverís seat, or is operating and the monitor, screen, or display is visible to the driver while driving the motor vehicle."

    Let's examine that.

    1, you do have a display in your view, in the front seat. And, it is freakin huge. Not likely to convince anyone it is an original Garmin jumbotron GPS.

    2, even if you do convenience the judge that your laptop can't produce video playback, you still have that nagging verbiage "entertainment or business applications". Did you remove all of those possibilities too?

    3, the location of your display is hardly in front of you, or on the windshield. Nor is it a 5" GPS screen, or an 8" OEM nav display.

    IMHO, you are not going to win. But, good luck to you, and I hope you do win.


  3. #3
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    i think your best bet is to go on the offensive and attack the officers credibility or draw possible doubt. first ask questions to setup the time of day and lighting conditions. then ask questions that relate to his memory of that incident ie. what you were wearing, passengers, positions of the setup, and so on. then ask the reason of why he pulled you over, you really need to go after the officer on this point, was a video playing, how can he tell, how far away was he when he saw you, ask him everything under the sun, if possible try to show an example to show possible confusion. i have beaten some tickets just because the officer could not answer a simple question and it resulted in hurting his credibility in the incident.

    on a side note. try asking for a discovery of the officer, it shows all of their current qualifications and certificates. sometimes you get lucky and their qualifications are not current or they are new to the area and are not allow to issue tickets yet.

  4. #4
    Variable Bitrate Wayne613's Avatar
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    Yeah, you'd have to specify that this is no different from any other after-market unit, in that you have safety features running that lockout video when not parked. Otherwise I can't see this being won. In most states wording, even the aftermarket units with the safety features intact technically violate the letter of the law. Just depends on how douchey they wish to be should they be that way naturally, are having a bad day, or you become smart-*** enough.
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  5. #5
    FKA CivicModz
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    You need a "police" switch that will disable the video and link it to the handbrake. So when you get pulled over you can show them that it only works when the handbrake is on.

  6. #6
    Who am I? HiJackZX1's Avatar
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    You know, I actually prepared for a situation like this. My setup will have 3 screens in the front. Two for driver, one for passenger. For the driver, one screen only shows legal driver based stuff like nav, OBD2, and what not. It can not play video what so ever. Now the second driver screen does everything multimedia based, but it will only work if the car is in park.
    Nirwana Project, the Android/Win 7 hybrid system!

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  7. #7
    Variable Bitrate m2x0p9x's Avatar
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    Or you really just need a simple app you can run from the main menu of your FE that runs for a pre determined time or unless you do a combinating of clicks. Hell or even open a jpg to display fullscreen with huge WARNING logo.

  8. #8
    Who am I? HiJackZX1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by m2x0p9x View Post
    Or you really just need a simple app you can run from the main menu of your FE that runs for a pre determined time or unless you do a combinating of clicks. Hell or even open a jpg to display fullscreen with huge WARNING logo.
    What FE do you use.... This is a good point! If you can show that the setup displays that warning (I know CF does it.) Isnt that enough to prove that it is legal?
    Nirwana Project, the Android/Win 7 hybrid system!

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  9. #9
    Newbie IronDuke84CS's Avatar
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    I've been cruising around in my Chevette with a 15" touch screen for years with no problems.
    The closest I got was a cop pulling me over to see why my car had a computer like his patrol cruiser did.
    I explained, he left, no ticket. Maybe it helped that I had my kids in the car with me and they were watching some cartoon while I was driving.
    You can see my screen clear as day through the glass too!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imuAxpqfKAA

  10. #10
    Who am I? HiJackZX1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IronDuke84CS View Post
    I've been cruising around in my Chevette with a 15" touch screen for years with no problems.
    The closest I got was a cop pulling me over to see why my car had a computer like his patrol cruiser did.
    I explained, he left, no ticket. Maybe it helped that I had my kids in the car with me and they were watching some cartoon while I was driving.
    You can see my screen clear as day through the glass too!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imuAxpqfKAA
    HAHAHAHAHA, that is funny. I have a similar issue. The car pc isnt in yet, but they always ask why my rear view is a screen instead of a mirror. Its legal though. In Miami you only need to have the driver side mirror to be legal. The ones that are nasty about it though let me go once I tell them that its also recording them. Now it also has a benefit, drivers around me think I am a cop, so if im behind someone on the highway, they will pull over to let me thru. In the city when i drive behind people you see them fighting to get their set belts on. I guess it the combination of the two tone paint job and all the gadgets in the windsheild that give people the idea, which I dont mind, lol.

    I do know once I get the 19 inch in the rear and the seven 7 inch screens active, I am going to have major issues with the police.
    Last edited by HiJackZX1; 07-30-2011 at 09:49 AM.
    Nirwana Project, the Android/Win 7 hybrid system!

    1X Ainol Novo Flame Tab
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    1X 7 inch motorized Screen
    1x Win 7 PC

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