Paying a price for pride

Students with sorority or fraternity letters on the front of their automobiles where license plates are supposed to be may want to consider removing the decorative plate.Many students who joined fraternities or sororities this semester received Greek plates after rush week. Greek plates have been a popular way to show pride among students for a long time, but students who display them are in danger of receiving a citation.University Police and the Huntsville Police Department are distributing tickets to anyone with decorative plates on the front of their car. “You are in violation of the law and you are subject to being cited,” said Col. Dennis Culak, assistant director of UPD. According to state law, commercial and passenger vehicles must have two state plates containing the license plate number, one at the front and another at the rear.Section 502.404 of the Texas Transportation Code clearly states, “A person commits an offense if the person operates on a public highway during a registration period a passenger car or commercial motor vehicle, other than a vehicle-assigned license plates for the registration period, that does not properly display the registration insignia issued by the department that establishes that the license plates have been validated for the period.”Substituting Greek plates for Texas license plates is a misdemeanor. Students in violation of this section of the transportation code will most likely have to pay a fee. Culak said that the cost of these citations depends on the court and the violation for which one is being cited. “It depends on where you received the citation and on the court in which you present it,” Culak said. Some students who were pulled over for having Greek letters on their front license think that the citations are unfair. “Cops don’t usually pull you over from the back; they pull you over from the front,” said senior Jonathan Guise, who was recently pulled over because of his Greek plates.Students also shared concern that the citations were a way for the university to gain money and that the university police should worry about fighting crime, not ticketing cars with Greek plates. According to UPD, Greek plates have not been a major source for citations this semester, but officers are on the lookout for cars with fraternity or sorority letters where license plate numbers should be. The officers plan to ticket cars with Greek plates on the front because the plates are in violation of the law, but said the highest concern is the safety of students and staff at SHSU.Greek car decals, such as stickers, are generally acceptable by police as long as the decal does not obscure the driver’s vision. Students who have received citations for having Greek plates improperly displayed must file their tickets with either the Huntsville Municipal Court or the Justice Courts of Walker County.

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