When Vanity Plates Trigger Police False Positives


by Takethegate

Spring is here and so are the All-American pastimes like the county fair, barbecues and crusin.’

Like most spring chicks many of us head into the BMV to get our licenses renewed and maybe some new vanity plates. However, this time one anecdotal story was overheard by yours truly and it took first prize.

While waiting in line at the local BMV in Cincinnati, Ohio a man in his late to early 40s – 50s walked up to the counter and began his tale of woe.

This startled Ohio driver happened to be a concealed carry holder. He told about how he had been pulled over near the University of Cincinnati in Clifton at gun point by six police officers. The confused construction worker rolled down the window of his black Chevy Tahoe and stuck both hands outside.

Afterward, he said that the police recognized the error in their computers and then cautioned him to get his license plates re-registered lest it happen again. Why?

He explained that the police indicated that his license plates came back to a different man who was wanted on a felony arrest warrant.

The driver who shall remain anonymous for obvious reasons went to the BMV and got his license plates re-registered. His fees in total were $11 and lost lunchtime on a Monday.

However, this man had been mistaken for a man wanted on a felony arrest warrant and it could have had all kinds of tragic consequences.

Now what you might not expect is how is this an error in the driver’s favor? Well the unusual circumstances meant that he had to comply or get pulled over again at gun point. So what should anyone do at this point?

Call the offices of the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV).

‘If you feel you’ve run into an error we try to help with this process…’ explained Dustyn F . under the Ohio Department of Public Safety. ‘I’m not sure what the officer told them but it’s the quickest and easiest way to get the remedy across.’

Many people don’t know they can save themselves a headache by calling their BMV directly. Then you will be put through to the correct department. So have on hand your social security number, driver’s license number and driver’s plate number. Personal identifiers will be asked to assure that you’re not an identity thief. You’re not one right?

Then the request for help will be given to the correct department section head for consideration, or even to the BMV Registrar for final deliberation on the acceptance of reimbursement. at the registrar’s office or to the department head supervisor for consideration on the acceptance of reimbursement.

‘Sometimes all it takes is a phone call to the local court to find out where the error happened. We’ve got people at the BMV in contact with the local courts on a daily basis.’

The BMV can also ask the court to issue a reversal if there is an assignment of error in the computer system. There can be many false positives when this happens by human error, automated license plate reader malfunction, written onto a traffic ticket incorrectly or entered into the computer incorrectly.

Police don’t work for the BMV so it’s wise to call and check with the BMV before asking about re-registration of any license plate.

Sometimes the court jurisdiction is where the court needs to check an error. Even in a traffic ticket, there’s nothing sent out to the BMV until the court sends the records through to the BMV. So a civil ticket must also go through a court.

If you feel that your request for reimbursement was denied by error. You have one final option of contacting the State of Ohio Court of Claims for consideration. They will look into issues of reimbursement after the re-registration of license plates was completed if proven after the fact.

For those who live out of state contact your local state BMV and ask about the issues particular to your state..

So without further delay here is the general contact information for the Ohio BMV:

Phone Numbers

General Line Contact:

Toll Free: 844-644-6268

Columbus: 614-752-7500

BMV Legal Offices



The author did not reach out ti the Cincinnati Police Department for comment based on disagreements and past issues involving the court system at this time.

About Take The Gate

A web based blog about Ohio and intelligence gathering tool for the spread of aletheia, logos, and, sophia (truth, reason, and wisdom). Looking through the glass darkly.
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