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Can Your Car's Paint Job Get You Pulled Over?

By Daniel Taylor, Esq. | Last updated on

Most people are well aware that driving too fast or in a reckless manner is likely to get you pulled over. But a car's paint job may also attract the attention of law enforcement.

It's not against the law to have a crummy paint job or to paint your car an especially obnoxious color. Fortunately for most of us, the fashion police have not yet been granted the same power as the actual police to make arrests.

So how can your vehicle's paint job get you pulled over?

Seeing Red?

You've likely heard the conventional wisdom that driving a red car is likely to result in being pulled over by law enforcement more often than driving a car of a different color. And at first blush this makes sense: Red is the quintessential "sports car" color, the furious hue of the Ferraris and Corvettes and other high-priced vehicles built to be driven well over the speed limit.

However, this theory is nothing more than an urban legend, according to Police have long denied that the color of a car matters in attracting their attention. And statistics show that overall, it's the kind of car you drive, regardless of the color, that affects the likelihood of getting a ticket, reports Forbes. Drivers of sporty import models like the Volkswagen GTI and the Mercedes Benz CLS-63 are more than twice as likely to be cited compared to the average driver.

Paint Jobs That Can Get You Pulled Over

Although a red car in and of itself won't necessarily get you stopped, there are other paint schemes that will make it more likely that you may be stopped and even cited for a violation.

For example, cars that have been "murdered out" -- with black paint, black-tinted windows, black wheels, and even tail lights painted black -- may lead to traffic stops and citations, as "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" star Kylie Jenner recently found out. This isn't necessarily due to the paint job itself, but rather the dark tinting on windows and lens covers.

Elaborate paint schemes may also be run afoul of the law if they too closely resemble those used by law enforcement. You may recall that a Massachusetts man was cited for impersonating a police officer after painting his Maserati to resemble the police car robot from the "Transformers" movies. (The charge against the driver was later dropped, according to Boston magazine.)

If you've been cited for your car's paint job, a lawyer who specializes in traffic tickets can help explain your legal options for fighting the ticket in court. Learn more about traffic stops, traffic tickets, and going to court at FindLaw's section on Traffic Laws.

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