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Old 05-10-2006, 12:12 PM   #1
Butt Dyno
Street's closed, pizza boy
Member#: 17301
Join Date: Apr 2002
Chapter/Region: MAIC
Default The MAIC "exhaust ticket/tint ticket/cops hate me" FAQ


I got pulled over. Stupid cops! Shouldn't they be stopping murder or something? My tax dollars at work! Yada yada bla bla bla

Here's a very eloquent description of how to interact with the police. It was written by a DC police officer. If you stick with this, you'll be in good shape.
Originally Posted by DCBacon
Almost feel like I have to chime in on these cop-bashing threads. Here's the deal, bottom line. You have to think of cops as customer service reps and sometimes you have to deal with them in that manner. Most people will interact with cops in a traffic stop situation.

High time I present DCBacon's guide to avoiding annoyance and arrest when met with Officer Friendly on our nation's roads. So here it is.

Before you read this you might want to know that you can take the advice presented here or ignore it. What I present is just the optimal set of conditions. We all do (well, most of us) risk analysis before engaging in risky behaviors. Even I exceed the speed limit at times. Why? At the time I figure I can handle the consequences. Go ahead, put on that Borla and go catless. Just understand that you have assumed a small bit of risk.

DCBacon's Guide to avoiding arrest and annoyance while travelling:

1. My friend Steve always says, "Never do two illegal things at once." You can drive drunk or stoned (not advocating nor do i approve, just saying it happens) but keep your illegal drugs, guns and other items at home. Corrollary: You can drive a car with tint or exhaust but the both combined? Cop magnet! I know you got pulled over for tint alone, but aren't you glad that you weren't carring the dismembered body of your former significant other in the back?
2. Understand that if you have a car that attracts a lot of attention, cops take notice. You get compliments on your rims and body kit? Cops notice shiny things, too. They can be like cats that way.
3. Please, please, please, no stickers or signs that may be inflammitory on the car. Having a pot leaf on the back of the car, or the FCKCOPS Virginia tag is your choice or preference. Ideally, you want to be driving a beige minivan that is undistinguishable from the crowd. I understand that you don't drive a Caravan. Just keep the political/religious affiliation symbols to a minimum. Most cops could care less. Just remember that these cops have opinions that they may not be able to completely leave at home on the job. My sister got pulled over and ticketed last month and I don't think the Bob Marley stickers helped her out. Just sayin'.
4. If you're going to get pulled over, do it in a safe place for the cop. The cop may direct you further to the side or to a better lighted spot.
5. If at night, dome light on, windows down, hands visible to the officer. Move when instructed to do so. If this seems a little like "papers, please" and you do not wish to subjugate yourself further, stop reading here. Put the cop at ease. No sudden movements. Do not get out of the car unless instructed. Out of the car? You're on your own.
6. You pretty much can expect that the officer is going to want license, registration and insurance information. Have it out? As a courtesy?
7. The officer should tell you why you have been stopped. Now is not the time to launch into an angry diatribe about how the police should be finding lost children or solving rapes and homicides. They know these kind of crimes are more important. Right now, they're dealing with you.
8. if you are given a chance to explain your infraction, remember that the officer is going to pay particular attention to the parts where you incriminate yourself. "I was in a hurry." "No more than 68, Officer."
9. if you know that the officer is dead wrong you have a few options. First. Are you in Hazzard County? If you're not, you may have a chance to reason with the cop. Just remember, you're not in court. There is no judge or jury at the side of the road. The cop doesn't want to hear any more? Shut up. Do you know for a fact that your aftermarket part is legal in that jurisdiction? Try to explain that fact. Not working? You will be able to waste a day in court.
10. Officer A**H**E pull you over? He has a supervisor. And he has bad days as well. If his immediate supervisor knows his subordinates, he will be able to determine what the case was on that stop. Want a badge number and name? Get it. Most cops are happy to oblige. Not so? Car number and license plate number plus jurisdiction usually equals the same results.
11. Is the officer that pulled you over an idiot? Is he or she not as well versed in municipal regulations as you are? Remember everything for court. Some police officers get into the profession for all the wrong reasons. Some are genuinely ignorant of the newest legislation. They're human and make mistakes. They're just loathe to admit that they're wrong. Court. Unless you're in a corrupt jurisdiction. In that case, spiritual entity of your choosing be with you.
12. Did you get a ticket? Was it unfair? Did it ruin an otherwise normal or better than normal day? You can fight it. Go to court. Did the officer show up? Do you have proof? Who's Mr. Ofc. Smarty-Pants now? Get a lawyer.

i probably forgot something. Have a rant or correction? PM me.

In the interest of full disclosure, I'm an officer in DC and all opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone. No traffic stop is going to be 100% pleasant. You can do a few things to minimize the pain. YMMV. I don't even like doing most traffic enforcement, I'd rather go after the real criminals. Like dancing bananas.
But my SPT catback came from the dealership. It's got to be legal. Right?

No. The fact that it came from the dealership doesn't mean anything. It almost certainly had a sticker on it somewhere that said it was for offroad use only. Please correct me if I'm wrong. Subaru does advertise on the SPT site that the exhaust is louder than stock.

UPDATE: The SPT muffler is pretty clearly not "50 state legal" or any of that jazz:
Intended for off-highway application only. May bring vehicle out of compliance with safety/or emissions standards. Can only be lawfully installed by end user. Click here for complete details.
This Subaru performance part has been designed and is intended for off highway application only. Installation of this part on a vehicle intended for use on public roads may violate state or federal laws and regulations including those relating to emissions requirements and motor vehicle safety standards. Federal and many state laws prohibit the removal, modification or rendering inoperative of any part or vehicle system affecting emissions or safety. Violations may result in a fine of up to $10,000 per vehicle. In addition, installation of this part may adversely affect the warranty coverage on your vehicle.
But Harleys and all those domestic V8's can run Flowmasters and not get in trouble

So, buy a Harley or domestic V8 if you don't want to get harassed. You own an import; some cops harbor stereotypes, in large part due to the stupid activities of some import owners. You having your loud ass exhaust is not helping the stereotype.


What does Virginia law say about my mad tyte catback y0?

The law in Virginia:
46.2-1049. Exhaust system in good working order.

No person shall drive and no owner of a motor vehicle shall permit or allow the operation of any vehicle on a highway unless it is equipped with an exhaust system of a type installed as standard factory equipment, or comparable to that designed for use on the particular vehicle as standard factory equipment, in good working order and in constant operation to prevent excessive or unusual noise. An exhaust system shall not be deemed to prevent excessive or unusual noise if it permits the escape of noise in excess of that permitted by the standard factory equipment exhaust system of private passenger motor vehicles or trucks of standard make.

The term "exhaust system," as used in this section, means all the parts of a motor vehicle through which the exhaust passes after leaving the engine block.

Chambered pipes are not an effective muffling device to prevent excessive or unusual noise.
Very small cliff notes: Your exhaust can't be louder than the one that came on the car as standard equipment.

How do they measure that?

They don't.

What the hell? How can they have a law like that?

They tried to fix it:

But it didn't work.

But doesn't the sentence as written just say that it can't be louder than the exhaust of private passenger motor vehicles? So as long as my car is quieter than the loudest factory car it should be legal, right?

That's one way to read it, and probably the most accurate way, but my guess is that the judges don't interpet it that way.

Where can I find Fairfax County Code?


The law in Maryland is much clearer:
Originally Posted by wheets
MD Transportation Article 22-609:
(a) A person may not modify the exhaust system or any other noise abatement device of a motor vehicle driven or to be driven on any highway in this State in such a way that the noise emitted by the vehicle exceeds that emitted by the vehicle as originally manufactured.
(b) A person may not drive on any highway in this State a motor vehicle with an exhaust system or noise abatement device modified in a way prohibited by subsection (a) of this section.
4523. Exhaust systems, mufflers and noise control.
(a) Compliance with established sound levels.--Every motor vehicle operated on a highway shall
be constructed, equipped, maintained and operated so as not to exceed the sound level for the vehicle
as prescribed in regulations promulgated by the department. The test procedures and instrumentation
to be utilized shall also be established by regulation.
(b) Compliance with exhaust requirements.--In addition to any requirements established under
sections 4531 (relating to emission control systems) and 4532 (relating to smoke control for diesel-
powered motor vehicles), every motor vehicle shall be constructed, equipped, maintained and operated
so as to prevent engine exhaust gases from penetrating and collecting in any part of the vehicle
occupied by the driver or passengers.
(c) Mufflers and related equipment.--Every motor vehicle shall be equipped with a muffler or
other effective noise suppressing system in good working order and in constant operation and no
muffler or exhaust system shall be equipped with a cutout, bypass or similar device.
(d) Unauthorized modification of equipment.--No person shall modify the exhaust system of a
motor vehicle in a manner which will amplify or increase the noise emitted by the motor of the vehicle
above the maximum levels permitted under subsection (a) or violate the provisions of subsection (b).
Headers and side exhausts are permitted provided the vehicle meets all the requirements of this
(e) Fire equipment and racing vehicles.--This section does not apply to fire equipment or to
racing vehicles being operated in an organized racing or competitive event conducted under a permit
issued by local authorities
General Exhaust Ticket Questions

What can I do to AVOID an exhaust ticket?

1) Own a quiet exhaust.
1a) Stock is quiet.
1b) If you don't do this, get a stock-looking exhaust: Prodrive, Scoobysport, Stromung, Borla, etc.
2) Don't drive like an asshat.
3) Don't have illegal tint.
4) Basically, don't give them another reason to pull you over.

What can I do to FIGHT an exhaust ticket?

1) Put the stock one back on.
2) Try to argue that the law is ambiguous or unjustified. ( )

How loud is my exhaust?
Exhaust dB data gathered by Unabomber

Someone from Maryland want to chime in?
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Last edited by Butt Dyno; 12-17-2008 at 10:26 AM.
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