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Flashing headlights protected by First Amendment

"A federal judge in Missouri has granted a preliminary injunction to prevent a Missouri town from prosecuting drivers for flashing their headlights," according to an article by Debra Cassens Weiss in the American Bar Association Journal. The basis for the injunction is the First Amendment that is the Right to Free Speech. The judge held that flashing one's headlights, even to warn of an upcoming speed trap, is protected speech. This means that no public entity, such as a city, county, state, or other agency has the ability to legally infringe upon the protected speech, here the flashing of headlights.

The choice of one driver to alert another driver of an upcoming speed trap, accident or other roadway interference has long been illegal in many states and counties. The policy behind these laws is often that when a member of the public alerts another driver to police monitoring, they are obstructing the police's investigations into illegal activity, i.e. speeding. However, with this ruling motorists could have the ability to alert other drivers in such a way.

While Colorado has no law on flashing lights to warn other motorists, many states and municipalities do. This ruling goes to show how important it is to know your rights and protect them. To speak with an attorney about how you can protect your rights, call Feldmann Nagel, LLC. At 1-888-458-0991.

Categories: Criminal Defense

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