Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Topic: Drivers Licenses and State IDs

Drivers' Licenses -or- State ID Cards -or- "License Plates"
with marking to indicate either
"Sex Offender" or "Other Coding" meaning same.

Driver's Licenses, State IDs and Plates

There are points relevant to this issue that we can think of, if anyone knows more please let us know:
1) Frequency of updating a license, state ID or plates, and additional costs, when the frequency of update is different for former offenders and other residents of the state;

2) The effects of marking former offenders' licences or state ID's on daily life transactions where businesses and professional services may require them;

3) The effects of having a marked license plate and public reaction to that marked plate;

4) Is it constitutional to require former offenders to carry the message of the state on their drivers' licenses or other IDs, when that is retroactively applied, -AND AND- when a defendant is not advised of this consequence when plea bargaining or when pleading guilty to a sex offense?

Frequency and costs: It is quite clear that this constitutes an extra burden especially for those who are required to register for a LifeTime. ex: In the case of a 40 year old who likely -with clean living- would live to a ripe age of 75 or so, a $25.00 license or state ID would cost: $875.00 and if other drivers only had to renew every 5 years, $175.00.

Now, to get a license or state ID one must take off work and travel to the DMV which adds to the costs. Also, an employer might get tied of having to make concessions such as this for someone on the registry placing the job in jeopardy as well. With everything else heaped on former offenders, this is clearly further punishment in this writer's mind; a ex post facto violation, but who am I?

Effect on Daily Life Transactions: There is no doubt that the marking of licenses and plates have a dramatic effect on one's later life in the community. At least the drivers license and state IDs are used in an untold number of financial and medical transactions where such knowledge can improperly influence the transaction, and may even cause the former offender to be denied whatever the transaction is about. This is no mere consequence, it is one caused by the government. And, protecting society is again a ruse in a one-on-one financial transaction; society has no right to be involved in one's personal financial or medical transactions.

Effect on Cars with Marked License Plates: There is no doubt that the marking of license plates will have an effect on the general public when they see the car. Who may be driving the car -sometimes-, the registrant or one of his/her family members? We cannot forget that registrants can be male, female, juvenile or an adult.

Such a visable plate makes a target of the driver for all sorts of harassment and possible damage to the vehicle, even when it is parked and it is not known who is driving it.

A few states have proposed plates of various colors and all of the legislation has failed, there is far too much risk involved and the majority of lawmakers know this. But, every so often common sense does not prevail and a new lawmakers trying to make a name for themselves will propose such a plate. Those lawmakers should try driving around with such a plate then they would know what happens.

Some folks have claimed that, if registrants were forced to have such a plate, then the public would know when registrants get close to playgrounds and school yards where registrants go to snatch children. Folks who make such claims need to seriously seek treatment because they take registrants for being fools, and they are not. Vindictive legislation does not protect the public.

Forced to carry government message: This is where it becomes most egregious, because it clearly equates to days of old shaming punishments. Any claim that it protects the public is but a ruse. And, the claim that it makes a law enforcement's officers' job easier because then they know who they are dealing with, again a ruse but worse than the first ruse. Officers are paid to do a job which comes with risks, and meeting with a former offender say, in a checkpoint on the roads, presents no real risk and no more than any other driver they stop. Ruse after ruse doesn't make it constitutional, and there is nothing in the constitution requiring former sex offenders to make law enforcements' jobs easier.

The issue of marked licenses and plates became a issue in the U.S. Supreme court during Oral Arguments and that discourse is shown below. From that it is quite clear there is something in law (unknown to this writer) that brings into question "Who carries the government message" as to whether circumstances are constitutional or not. Lawyers, where are you?

For now, have a great day and a better tomorrow.
eAdvocate (BACK to the Top Page)

States That Mark Driver's Licenses and State IDs
With "Sex Offender"

Alabama: (Search for license)
For now, have a great day and a better tomorrow.
eAdvocate (BACK to the Top Page)

U.S. Supreme Court Discussed
Carrying the State's Message

COMMENTARY from U.S. Supreme Court:
Does this violate the ex post facto clause, most would say, no, but read on. When RSOs go in to register they provide information to the registry. Then the registry displays certain of that information on a public registry; all state action.

However, driver's licenses and license plates are vastly different. How you ask? Well, who is carrying the state's message, the RSO, that is not like the state displaying information on the Internet.

In the U.S. Supreme court, the case of
Smith v. Doe (Sex offender registration), during Oral Argument the following discussion took place between Mr. Olson (then Solicitor General for the U.S.) and Justice Kennedy:

Justice Kennedy QUESTION: Could -- could the State require a special mark on your license plate?

MR. OLSON: No, I -- well, I don't know, Justice Kennedy, but I would say that would be considerably different than what's here because that would --

QUESTION: I don't think it's very different.

MR. OLSON: Pardon me?

QUESTION: I don't think it's very different.

MR. OLSON: I -- I respectfully submit that it's a great deal different. That mark on your license plate, or mark on your forehead would go wherever you would go. It would require you to carry the government's message rather than the government supplying the message.

QUESTION: Well, this statute requires you to make the government's message four times a year.

MR. OLSON: It only -- it doesn't require you to make the government's message four times a year. The government's message, I respectfully submit, is made when a citizen submits an inquiry to the State through the Internet listing. All -- it is required four times a year is to advise the government of a current location or current information so that the information on the registry is accurate and -- and up-to-date.
So, who is carrying the message? It is the RSO when it is on his driver's license or license plate. That distinction, following the sentencing where it was not part of the sentence, could very well be construed as further punishment. i.e., a ex post facto violation.

Apparently, and this U.S. Supreme court discussion proves it, that there is something in law about, who carries the message, and lawyers know about this. Now to find those lawyers to fight the issue all the way to the U.S. Supreme court. That may be easier said than done.

For now, have a great day and a better tomorrow.
eAdvocate (BACK to the Top Page)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In Louisiana, a registrant has to go to the DMV annually to obtain an identification card and driver's license, both of which have an orange-bordered box under the photograph with "SEX OFFENDER" in orange letters. Covering this box constitutes a failure to register.
They are only valid for one year from the date of issue, although the full fee is charged (as though the DL was valid for six years). In 2015, these two cards cost me almost $75 (I have a Class D license).
Indigent and elderly registrants are statutorily prohibited from receiving a free ID.
The ID card and DL must be carried at all times. Covering the "SEX OFFENDER" box or failing to possess the ID constitutes a failure to register, which is a felony punishable by 2-10 years in prison, and resets the clock for those registrants who are not on lifetime registration.