Is it legal for an officer to give you a traffic violation ticket when you are not driving?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Is it legal for an officer to give you a traffic violation ticket when you are not driving?

This question pertains to the state of
Oregon. I went to work one day and an
officer was sitting outside and I
parked and had went inside and minutes
later I ran back out to my car while it
was off and my key was not in the
ignition and the officer in his vehicle
stopped me and said he ran my plates
and then gave me a ticket for not
having my vehicle registered. Is that
legal since I wasn’t technically

Asked on December 11, 2017 under General Practice, Oregon


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Yes, it is legal, because the offense (not registering the vehicle) does not depend upon you driving *at that moment*. It is enough if you clearly *had* driven the car--which you obviously had, if the car was at your office (so it had been driven there; i.e. it was not parked in your garage at home, where it could have been for weeks or months) and you were getting into it, key in hand (so you both most likely had been the one to drive it there, and you were preparing to drive it away). So you had driven the car, you were about to drive the car, and it was unregistered--that is sufficient for the offense of driving an unregistered vehicle. He did not need to see the car in motion for this ticket.

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