Maryland Judge Decrees Pontiac G8 GT Tail Lights Illegal

Illustration for article titled Maryland Judge Decrees Pontiac G8 GT Tail Lights Illegal

A Maryland judge issued an $85 fine to the owner of a Pontiac G8 GT for illegal tail lights, despite being factory-installed and approved by the US Department of Transportation. She's promised to keep fining him. Judicial activism, FTL!

Forum member "jackalope" at G8Board.com was ticketed by a Maryland officer who claimed he was sporting illegal tail lights. After amassing a healthy amount of evidence proving he hadn't modified his car and it was approved for sale by the Department of Transportation, he went to court confident the ticket would be dismissed, only to find the contrary. We'll let him tell you how it all went down:

Went to court for my clear tail lights on my car and was found guilty!

The judge actualy told me she didn't care what the manufacturer said, what the federal govt said, what the DOT # stamped onto my taillights said if the officer says my lights aren't legal then they're not legal. I took the G8 sales brochure in along with pics of my car and other G8 GT's and the VIN trace by 3 different dealers saying my lights were factory none of it mattered she found me guilty of failing to display or reflect red light on the rear of the car. Didn't matter the reflecters were in the bumper, didn't matter where the light is has that little red circle, the whole lens isn't red so they're not legal. Also where the back-up and turn signals are should be the reflectors according to the cop so the V6 cars lights aren't legal either.

Judge stupid went on to tell me that maybe I should consider trading in or selling the car since its not legal in MD and that I'm going to continue to get the $60 tickets till I get rid of the car.

So I contacted Pontiac's 1-800 # and I have an apt next friday to have my car looked at by them and see if they can help or at least repay me the $85.50 fine and court costs.

I honestly don't know what else I can do. The cop was ALL smiles afterwards and winked at me! WTF! Now I'm screwed! How do I go to work now? I drive right thru where he works!! So this ass nuget can make up **** randomly for any car he gets a hard on for and nothing can be done to fight it!

This is BS.

The problem centers around the clear lens tail lights and bumper-mounted reflectors of the Pontiac G8 GT model. Because the red area in the lenses is reduced in the G8 GT, there are reflectors mounted in the bumper to reflect additional light and bring the reflective requirements into spec. Th officer and by extension the judge considered them illegal.

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Now, we can understand Mr. Jackalope's momentary lack of respect for the legal system above — this is B.S., but he's got legitimate cause to be pissed. He bought a car he assumed to fall within the operations laws of all states and which was in reality approved for nationwide sale by the government. According to the Judge, the opinion of an Officer of the Law supersedes what the Federal government approved for sale and the design somehow doesn't jive with what the State of Maryland considers legal.

One of the other forum members has offered up legal service to fight the fine, but it makes us wonder if all the G8 GT drivers in Maryland now have something to worry about. Should motorists who've bought a car approved by the Federal government be worried about being arbitrarily fined by a Judge who seems to side with the opinion of an officer over the law. [G8Board thread]

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DISCUSSION

I had the lovely fun of a similar run in with the law. My 2001 Lightning came with clear covers over red lenses on the rear.

About 2 months after getting it, I got pulled over for them and ticketed. When I questioned the cop as to why, he pulled me out of the truck and hand cuffed me on the curb. Then called for backup while he searched my truck and threw my stuff all over the street.

I was blowing a gasket at that point and then his backup showed up. It was the shift commander. He saw the cop throwing my stuff with reckless abandon and asked me why I was handcuffed. I told him what was up, he looked at me, looked at my truck and the bent down to peer at the taillights.

He stands up straight and goes over to the cop and says "Hey, come here." He walks him to the back of the truck, shines his flashlight on the lens where the D.O.T. number is embossed. He says "What does that say?"

The cop reads it and the shift commander asks "Why is this man handcuffed and why are you rifling through his stuff and destroying it?" Then he takes the cop's ticket book, looks at it and puts it in his pocket. He turns around to me and says "Stand up please, sir" He turns me around, takes the cuffs off and apologizes. Then he tells the cop to gather up my stuff and return it to the vehicle. The cop hands me my papers and says "I'm sorry for the way my officer has acted. These tickets won't be sticking and I assure you he will be dealt with. When he's done cleaning up, you can be on your way."

When the cop finished, the shift commander told him to "Get your ass back to the station, now." Then he turned to me and said "Have a better evening sir...by the way, nice truck!"

Thank the good Lord somebody with a brain showed up. I'm glad I didn't have to deal with court.