Paperless option offers proof of car registration

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By Marie E. Matyjaszek

When you are pulled over by a police officer, what’s the first thing you do (besides curse your bad luck)? Panic and pray  you have your updated proof of insurance and registration in the vehicle.

Given you can access just about anything online from your cell phone or tablet, being able to simply show the police proof from your phone would be great, right? Well, now you can.

Gov. Rick Snyder recently signed House Bill 4013 (now Public Act 59 of 2017) into law, allowing drivers to show their cell phones to the police, to provide proof of registration.

In 2015, Snyder signed a similar law, allowing for electronic copies of proof of insurance to be used in the same fashion. With the addition of e-registration verification, and as long as you have your smartphone in your car, there’s no excuse to not have either of these documents on hand.

People may be worried about handing over their phone to the police – after all, you store A LOT of personal information on your phone. The law limits what the police can do with your phone when you provide it for verification – “If a person displays an electronic copy of his or her registration certificate using an electronic device, the police officer shall only view the electronic copy of the registration certificate and shall not manipulate the electronic device to view any other information on the electronic device.” Providing your device for the police to view the registration does not presume that you “have consented to a search of the electronic device.”

The police can, however, require you to send a copy of the certificate to a certain location (i.e. e-mail) so that he or she can further verify its authenticity. 

With the passage of this new law, it’s one less thing to worry about. Now you can focus all of your creative efforts on excuses for why you were going 50 in a 25 mph zone.

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The author is an Attorney Referee at the Washtenaw County Friend of the Court; however, the views expressed in this column are her own. Her blog site is: http://legalbling.blogspot.com. She can be reached by e-mailing her at matyjasz@hotmail.com. 

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