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Alexia Esq.
Alexia Esq., Managing Attorney
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Are tail light covers illegal in Iowa I looked up the code

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Are tinted tail light covers illegal in Iowa? I looked up the code 321.404A and it's pretty broad.
I got pulled over and ticketed and I looked up the code I was ticketed for and I don't see how I'm breaking the law according to what it says. All my lights are visible from any distance the law requires even with the tinted tail light covers. He said I was covering up a reflector but it says nothing about reflectors under that code. He also wrote a written warning for my exhaust being too loud. It's a brand new exhaust on a 2009 Mustang GT and the exhaust is 50 state emissions legal. He also wrote a written warning for a strip of window tint on my front windshield. It blocks no view at all from inside or outside of the vehicle.
Do you have the hyperlink to the citation you looked up?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I just went to the Iowa Legislature online and typed in the code for the violation. The code for the exhaust is 321.436 and the violation code for tail light covers is 321.404A. He didn't put down a code for the window tint strip on the front windshield but I can't find anything under Iowa law that states what I have is illegal.

Hello again, please make sure your statute comports with mine, so we are on the same page.


If your caps are tinted, you need to show that the caps do not restrict (in any way) the light output. My concern here is that tinting that is customized (not as per manufacturer) - if this is the tinted tail light cap that came with the vehicle, you can be fairly assured that it is in compliance, so check that out. If it is direct from the manufacturer, I woujld get my documentation, take a photo to show it is the same as was provided when new, and you can likely win this case. If you did change it, you likely have a problem, if not under 321.404A but under 321.387 (see below), which requires identical replacement.



1. A person shall not operate a motor vehicle, motorcycle, or
motorized bicycle on the highways of this state if it is equipped
with a device that restricts the light output of
a headlamp required
under section 321.385 or 321.386, a rear lamp required under section
321.387, a signal lamp or signal device required under section
321.404, or a directional signal device as described in section

2. A person who violates this section shall be subject to a
scheduled fine under section 805.8A, subsection 3, paragraph "c".


321.387 REAR LAMPS.
Every motor vehicle and every vehicle which is being drawn at the
end of a train of vehicles shall be equipped with a lighted rear lamp
or lamps, exhibiting a red light plainly visible from a distance of
five hundred feet to the rear. All lamps and lighting equipment
originally manufactured on a motor vehicle shall be kept in working
condition or shall be replaced with equivalent equipment.


There is little you can probably do about the written warning - just make sure you didn't jazz up the vehicle to be louder than original.


As for windshields:


321.438 Windshields and windows. 1. A person shall not drive a motor vehicle equipped with a windshield , sidewings, or side or rear windows which do not permit clear vision. [Your officer may be asserting this is the case - it is your job for yourself to prove that the vision was still clear, despite the tinting. He may argue that 'tinting' be definition is not clear.] Again, if the manufacturer sold it this way from the factory, it will likely be helpful. If you decided to customize, more difficult.


2. A person shall not operate on the highway a motor vehicle equipped with a front windshield , a side window to the immediate right or left of the driver, or a side-wing forward of and to the left or right of the driver which is excessively dark or reflective so that it is difficult for a person outside the motor vehicle to see into the motor vehicle through the windshield , window, or sidewing. The department shall adopt rules establishing a minimum measurable standard of transparency which shall apply to violations of this subsection. [You need to get your hands on this - and if you do or don't, I would argue at trial that the state has the burden of showing what that min. is and proving via a measurable standard of transparency that you were in violation.] 3. Every motor vehicle except a motorcycle, or a vehicle included in the provisions of section 321.383 or section 321.115 shall be equipped with a windshield in accordance with section 321.444.


Thus, as you can see, whether you are in violation depends on these laws, whether your vehicle was customized such that it can be said to be outside the parameters here, etc. If you don't think the state can win, don't be shy about fighting it. The officer may have been citation happy out of jealosy of you new fun vehicle.



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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I will accept your answer and you described it very well. I just have one thing to clear up. Under that code 321.387 requiring 500 feet, if my car meets that standard, wouldn't that be enough to make what I have legal?

Hi and thanks, XXXXX XXXXX that there are 2 requirements here:


321.387 REAR LAMPS.
[1] Every motor vehicle and every vehicle which is being drawn at the
end of a train of vehicles shall be equipped with a lighted rear lamp
or lamps, exhibiting a red light plainly visible from a distance of
five hundred feet to the rear.


[2] All lamps and lighting equipment
originally manufactured on a motor vehicle shall be kept in working
condition or shall be replaced with equivalent equipment.


Try to show that the customization (if that is what you are dealing with) is "equivalent" equipment. As you can see, 'equivalent' may not be defined, but will then generally be as commonly used.



Alexia Esq. and 7 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thank you for your answer and I think I might be able to squeeze by that one by saying it is equivilant equipment since it can be seen by the required distance by law. I'm going to try that route. Thank you again for the quick answers.
Good luck. Not folding is the only way to 'keep 'em honest.'