Council hears of changes in traffic and criminal code enforcement

Law enforcement agencies across the Commonwealth are now getting used to changes in the State Code that have affected both traffic and criminal offenses.

Pulaski’s Interim Police Chief Jill Neice reported on the changes during Tuesday’s work session of Town Council.

Neice spoke on highlights of some of the nearly 500 changes to the State Code.

In the Traffic Code, the significant changes Neice said pertain to primary offenses – offenses law enforcement can stop a driver for because it is an offense just in itself such as having a headlight out on your vehicle.

Several former primary offenses are now secondary, which she said means police must first have an interaction with a driver over another matter such as speeding.

Going from primary to secondary are:

  • No light illuminating a license plate
  • Driving with defective or unsafe equipment
  • Driving without brake lights or a high-mount stop light
  • Driving without an exhaust system that prevents excessive or unusual levels of noise
  • Driving with certain sun shading materials and tinting films
  • Driving with certain objects suspended in the vehicle
  • Law enforcement officers are not permitted to stop a vehicle for an expired safety inspection or registration sticker until the first day of the fourth month after the original expiration date.

On criminal charges, among the changes are:

  • Enhanced punishment for repeat larceny is no longer in effect.
  • Petty larceny is now only a felony if the amount is over $1,000.
  • There is no more habitual offender act.
  • Suspended driver’s licenses for failure to pay fines have all been re-instated.