Florida Judge Rules Flashing High Beams a First Amendment Right

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Florida Judge Rules Flashing High Beams a First Amendment Right

Flashing high beams has become a universal sign to warn other drivers of a possible speed trap ahead and recently the police force in Florida has been handing out tickets for such an act – as they seem to do everywhere.

But after Ryan Kinter received a ticket for flashing his high beams at motorists to warn them of the cop up ahead, he sued the Seminole County Sheriff’s Department. Kinter’s case was that the cop misapplied an existing law regarding aftermarket lights and that he was simply communicating with other drivers. And of course, communicating is covered as a First Amendment right and the judge ruled it as so.

First, the ruling said that the law was misapplied in the case against Kinter; but the judge also made it firm that flashing high beams was legal and protected under the U.S. Constitution.

Kinter’s attorney, J. Marcus Jones, has a larger case against the Florida Highway Patrol on the same subject scheduled for next month. But for now, drivers in Florida are free to flash their high beams to their heart’s content.

[Source: Inside Line]

  • Jay Igaboo

    Similar case here in the UK about 20 years ago.
    We lack your wonderful 1st Amendment (which is not just good for motorists- it much more valuable for guarding against oppression).
    The drivers were charged with attempting to pervert the curse of justice, or similar, but successfully argued that flashing headlights to speeding drivers was assisting the law achieving its purpose–keeping cars slower and safer. This precedent was not overturned, so everybody flashes up fine-hungry cops ahead!