Mistake in Texas license plate law found

Nov. 16, 2011 at 1:56 PM
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AUSTIN, Texas, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- A Texas law mistakenly omitting a $200 fine for driving a vehicle without license plates possibly jeopardizes the enforcement of related laws, officials said.

The omission could be a problem for enforcement of related laws including a ban on false, altered or obscured license plates when the new law takes effect Jan. 1, the Austin American-Statesman reported Tuesday.

The bill, approved in May, was an effort to reorganize and modernize much of the Texas Transportation Code, and each chapter included the penalty for violations, eliminating the need to hunt through the voluminous code for punishment information, the newspaper said.

But the 234-page bill inadvertently dropped language setting a $200 fine from the section outlawing the operation of vehicles without license plates, state Rep. Joe Pickett said.

"It was just a very huge, detailed bill that we'd already rewritten three, four, five times," Pickett, D-El Paso, said Tuesday. "This wasn't a first draft. We made so many corrections and changes, we thought we caught everything."

If there is no penalty, law officers could not properly enforce a statute designed to quickly identify vehicles engaged in possibly criminal activity, Pickett wrote in a letter to Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott.

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