If a lawyer can prove that you were pulled over illegally, any evidence discovered subsequent to that illegal stop must be thrown out. For example, one time I had someone pulled over by the police in Northwest Arkansas for not having a tail light. After examining the dashcam video, it was clear the tail light was in perfect working order and the evidence collected as a result from the stop was not admissible.
I had another case where someone was pulled over and issued a criminal citation for Possession of Controlled Substance and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia while traveling on the interstate through NWA because they had their license plate improperly displayed. They had attached a bike rack to the back of their car that obscured the view of their license plate. They then removed their license plate and taped it the back window where they thought it would be more visible. Apparently a State Trooper felt otherwise, so what are the laws regarding the display of your license plate?
Under Arkansas law you have to have a license plate (see A.C.A. 27-14-304 and A.CA. 27-14-1005), but how you display that license plate is regulated under A.C.A 27-14-716 (License Plate Display Generally) and oddly A.C.A. 27-36-204 (When Lighted Lamps Are Required) and A.C.A. 27-36-215 (Tail Lamps and Reflectors). The rules are:
1) If you are issued two plates, one has to be affixed to the front, the other to the back. If you’re only issued one it has to be affixed to the rear unless you are a truck that has a one-ton capacity or larger you may place it on the front or the rear.
2) The license plate has to be affixed horizontally.
3) The license plate has to be at least 12 inches from the ground (measuring from the bottom of the plate).
4) The license plate has to be fastened in a way where it does not swing.
5) The license plate has to be in a place and position to be clearly visible and free of foreign materials and in a condition to be clearly legible.
6) Placing any type of cover over a license plate which makes the license plate more difficult to read or which reduces the reflective properties of the license plate is prohibited.
7) If it is a half hour after sunset or a half hour before sunrise you must have a white light illuminating the rear license plate and render it clearly legible from at least 50 feet.
In the end, the video showed at least one letter was deemed illegible due to the bike, and the stop was deemed valid. Oh well, you can’t win them all.