Rifle Rapport column: ‘Inoperable vehicles’ explained | PostIndependent.com

Rifle Rapport column: ‘Inoperable vehicles’ explained

“My car runs perfectly fine, so why did I get a ticket for inoperable vehicle?”

This question comes up frequently because about 50 Rifle residents a year are ticketed for this charge pursuant to the Rifle Municipal Code. According to the code, the definition of “inoperable vehicle” is “junked, wrecked, wholly or partially dismantled, discarded, abandoned or unable to perform the functions or purpose for which it was originally constructed.”

While it may be surprising, most of the tickets are for absent, expired or improper license plates. Rifle Municipal Code considers the absence of valid license plates a condition which renders the vehicle “inoperable” because it can’t be legally operated on public roads.

A Rifle police officer has the authority to write tickets under city code or state law. In this instance, a ticket for first offense Inoperable Vehicle results in a fine of a mere $25. Subsequent offenses can result in increased penalties. Rifle officers and code enforcement also have the ability to issue warnings or “fix-it” tickets. A charge of expired plates needs to be written into Garfield County Court and carries heftier fines and costs.

Another charge that often causes confusion is “abandoned vehicle.” A vehicle is considered abandoned if it’s left on public property for more than 72 hours. It is not an abandoned vehicle unless the vehicle is never moved. Again, it’s a $25 fine for a first offense.

Rifle Community Service Officers are an excellent source of information on these topics. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact dispatch at 970-625-8095 and ask to speak to one. Public information and education is their goal and they will be happy to assist you.

Rifle Rapport is a periodic column featuring the people and projects of the city of Rifle. If you have suggestions for future articles, please contact Kathy Pototsky at 970-665-6420 or kpototsky@rifleco.org.

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