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Are My Car’s Tricked-out Neon Wheels Illegal?

a red sports car driving on a road with light trails

Americans love their cars. Collectively, people in the United States own approximately 264 million passenger vehicles. That’s nearly one car per person. Cars are designed to have mass appeal, and car companies aim to sell to as many consumers as possible. It’s no surprise that year after year, car body colors consistently remain the same: black, white, tan, or grey.

Enter the World of Modifications (or “Mods”)

For many, a car is just a transportation device—a way to get to work, run errands, take the kids to soccer games.

But we are living in a consumer culture, where nearly everyone craves self-expression. The car we drive is no different. Many drivers want to stand out, get attention, and impress others. For many, their car outwardly expresses themselves. There are reams of studies, science, and pseudo-science devoted to car buying and ownership psychology.

So let’s say you want to personalize your car, maybe just a little, or a give it a major transformation. Enter the growing world of car modifications (or mods); there is a booming aftermarket of add-ons to make cars unique. But what can you do?

Most States Focus on Basic, Commonsense Standards

Not surprisingly, most laws focus on basic car standards:

  • Does the car make too much noise? Is it too loud?
  • Is the car riding too high or too low?
  • Are the lights too bright, dim, or confusingly colored?
  • Do windows provide clear visibility (from within and outside), or are they too heavily tinted?
  • Does the car comply with environmental requirements, or does it pollute?
  • Are license plates completely visible, and not obscured in any way?

These laws and regulations promote consistency, uniformity, and safety for drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and law enforcement officers.

Florida’s State Uniform Traffic Control governs this subject area. Note that a local county or municipality may have more stringent laws that must be followed. Just because a product or service is sold in a store (or online) does not make it legal.

Afterglow: Underbody and Wheel Lights

Television shows and movies have popularized car “bling.” Sure, neon underbody lights or wheels are attention-getting, flashy and look slick. But are they legal? They are not specifically outlawed nor allowed, so it gets a bit tricky.

When it comes to lighting, here’s a short list of what’s illegal in Florida:

  • No red lights visible in front
  • No blue lights visible anywhere, which are exclusively for police vehicles
  • Only red lights in the rear
  • Only white lights illuminating license plates
  • No flashing lights

What about green or yellow underbody illumination? They can easily be confused with emergency or towing vehicles, so it’s uncertain whether as to whether or not they are illegal. What about purple wheel neon lights? Perhaps if only turned on while parked (stationery), otherwise they may be considered flashing.

If You Were Arrested for Vehicle Modification, Call a Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

If you’re facing a criminal charge or concerned that you might be investigated in the future, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer today. The caring professionals at Khonsari Law Group are here and available to discuss your case. Call us at (727) 269-5300, or contact us confidentially. Our team will make your issues our priority and will help to put your mind at ease.

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