Flashing Lights, Blue Lights, and Civil Rights


Ever been driving along on a road or highway and you meet another vehicle where the driver is apparently flashing headlights at you?  Often the flashing is meant to warn you and other drivers of a speedtrap or law enforcement perched ahead.  Is the driver flashing his headlights violating the law?

One motorist in Missouri who flashed his lights at oncoming drivers was actually given a ticket for “[f]lashing lights on certain vehicles  . . . warning of Justice served hereRADAR ahead,” according to court papers. He faced a fine up to $1,000 as well as points on his license.  He fought back by pleading not guilty which led to the City dropping the citation.  Not done, the motorist sued the City in federal court alleging the local ordinance prohibiting headlight-flashing was an infringement upon his First Amendment freedom of speech.  Earlier this week a U.S. District Court judge ruled in the motorist’s favor on this issue and ordered the City to cease and desist from prosecuting drivers who flash their headlights.

I am unaware of any law specifically forbidding North Carolina motorists from flashing their headlights at other drivers unless doing so presents some safety hazard.  Be careful out there when driving and if you receive a traffic citation be sure to understand your options and the consequences of each.  If you receive a citation outside of your home state you should DEFINITELY get good counsel before handling the citation. Instead of guessing about these things you should consult an experienced traffic law attorney.

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