Motorcycle Stunt Driving may soon be a crime in Missouri

Jefferson City Criminal Lawyer

Representative Jeff Roorda, A Democrat from the St. Louis area is back again with a bill to protect us from ourselves. His House Bill 1332 creates the crime of Motorcycle Stunt Driving.

Most new criminal laws are unnecessary and this one is especially so. But considering all the possible crimes we could commit, how cool would it be to have a conviction for Motorcycle Stunt Driving? To quote Will Smith’s character in the movie Independence Day: “I have got to get me one of these!”

To get one, you have to complete one or more of the following “dangerous stunts” while riding a motorcycle on a public road (presumably in front of a police officer):

  1. Standing on the seat, frame, or handlebars;
  2. Performing handstands on the seat, frame, or handlebars;
  3. Operating a motorcycle on one tire;
  4. Removing both hands from the handlebars

It’s kind of like taking your driver’s test, except there is no requirement that you do it very well.  (Keep in mind–however–it could be embarrassing to get a conviction for attempted Motorcycle Stunt Driving). Afterwards, you pay your fine and tell everyone you know that you have a conviction for motorcycle stunt driving.

You could become famous. There are web sites on how to break into the Hollywood Movie Stunt business.

If you’re really ambitious, move to Hollywood. When the movie producer wants to know your motorcycle stunt driving experience, you can whip out a certified copy and tell him, “Experience, hell, I’ve got a conviction.”

Even if you don’t want to get into the movies, a conviction for motorcycle stunt driving can only bolster your image. Everybody knows the ladies go for the bad boys. If you already have tattoos, then this is the next step. If you don’t have one, get your conviction record tattooed on your chest!

Come back with a warrant

Red light camera tickets may become illegal in Missouri

We may score a point for freedom and privacy if Senator Jim Lembke’s Senate Bill 211 is passed. That bill would outlaw the use of “automated photo red light enforcement systems” to enforce red light violations in Missouri

This would would prevent the government from sending you a ticket in the mail accusing your car of running a red light, when the only evidence is a picture of your car taken by a computer controlled camera.

Not only is it good to see someone trying to rollback the surveillance state and the loss of freedom, but this bill is a good idea because red light cameras pose safety issues of their own. Rear-end collisions can be a problem when drivers stand on the brakes to avoid getting a ticket.

Not everyone is pleased with Senator Lembke’s bill. This week a group of Missouri police chiefs have released videos of red light accidents to highlight their support for the use of such cameras.

Click here for story.

Their views always seem one-sided, thinking only of enforcement and never about liberty and due process.

Even though this would be another law on the books, it goes against the stream. I like it.

If you want to let your Senator know how you feel about this bill, click here to send email: Senator Email

Bill would outlaw coolers, “jello shots” & Mardi gras beads on Missouri’s rivers

The legislative season has begun with the pre-filing of new bills for the upcoming session. The hottest proposal is one that creates many new crimes that can only be committed on a river (meaning that these crimes are not crimes on dry land or, presumably, on lakes and ponds). If Senator Delbert Scott‘s Senate Bill 2 becomes law, fun-loving Missourians will want to avoid:

  1. The crime of possessing a “beer bong” (funnels, tubes & hoses used for rapid consumption of alcohol) ON A RIVER.
  2. The crime of possession or consumption of alcohol-laced gelatin (“jello shots”) ON A RIVER.
  3. The crime of possession or use any alcoholic beverage container larger than one gallon ON A RIVER.
  4. The crime of distribution of bead necklaces, if such beads are intended to cause fighting, solicitation of nudity, obscene language or other lewd behavior ON A RIVER.
  5. The crime of possession of styrofoam & plastic coolers ON A RIVER (unless the cooler is made for holding bait)

Having never personally committed the first four crimes myself, I don’t quite know what to what to say. As near as I can tell, most behavior that these new crimes would discourage IS ALREADY A CRIME: peace disturbance, fighting, sexual misconduct, boating while intoxicated. etc.

But new crime #5 is worthy of more scrutiny. This law would nearly outlaw drinking any cold beverage on a river. If one uses the popular recreational river vessel–the venerable canoe–this bill would outlaw carrying any food or beverage at all because Missouri law already requires–under Section 306.325–that any food and beverages carried in canoes, MUST BE KEPT IN A COOLER.

Perhaps this bill is meant to encourage the purchase of aluminum coolers. For crying out loud, if you want to outlaw alcohol on a river, WHY DON’T YOU JUST DO IT?

And is there some good reason why these are crimes can only be committed on rivers, but not on lakes? I’ll bet there are more drunken lunatics in speedboats on our lakes.

I know we must still have some lawmakers who believe in liberty; lawmakers whose first inclination is to vote NO to more regulation and criminalization of (admittedly) bad behavior; and who understand that just because we could make belching and scratching one’s backside a crime, that would not transform Missouri into a heaven on earth.

As for our more totalitarian-minded legislators, they too can vote NO on this bill because it goes way too far in criminalizing innocent conduct while doing a poor job at controlling the underlying problems.

“Click it or ticket” in Missouri? Not really. Not yet.

Jefferson City Criminal Defense lawyerMost people would agree that driving around without a seat belt shows a definite streak of self-destructiveness. This is probably why we see frequent “Click-it or Ticket” PR initiatives coming from law enforcement promising a “crackdown” on seat belt violators.

Thursday September 11, 2008 is another crackdown day for some Missouri law enforcement. So be warned. Buckle-up or they are going to get you on Thursday. Or so they say.

Seat belt citation

Scare tactics aside, Missouri law enforcement have no power to pull over a driver for a seat belt violation. They can only write a ticket for a seat belt violation if there is another valid reason for the stop. The law is clear: “No person shall be stopped, inspected, or detained solely to determine compliance with [the seat belt law]”

Police can hardly crack down because they already push the law as far as it can go, even to the point of adding a check box to  every ticket, so they can effortlessly add a seat belt violation to any other charge.

We will have to wait to see if 2009 brings another bill in the legislature to let police pull anyone over if they see a seat belt violation. The yeahs will say we can save lives. They are surely right.

The nays will say it just gives the cops another excuse to get into your business. Another bit of liberty lost.