SHERIFF'S CORNER: Random Laws, Volume III

Have you ever done something that you thought might be illegal, but you really didn't know the answer? Or maybe it was illegal, but it has never been really enforced. Like "finders-keepers," "possession is 9/10th the law" and the "5 second food on the floor rule." Those are all legal right?

One of the main purposes of writing these articles is to inform you of certain laws and to answer the many questions we receive on a regular basis. Some laws you may know, and some you may not.

The misconception of law enforcement is that we are only out there to catch the "bad guys." That may be somewhat true, but preventing bad things from happening is also a goal. Also, advising you of what is illegal you don't get a ticket in the future.

In the edition of the "Sheriff's Corner," I give you Random Laws, Volume III.


• "Driver" defined. (257.13): Means every person who drives or is in actual physical control of a vehicle.

• "Operator" defined. (257.36): Means a person, other than a chauffeur, who does either of the following:

(a) Operates a motor vehicle upon a highway or street.

(b) Operates an automated motor vehicle upon a highway or street.

• "Truck" defined. (257.75): Means every motor vehicle designed, used, or maintained primarily for the transportation of property.

• "Vehicle" defined. (257.79): Means every device in, upon, or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a highway, except devices exclusively moved by human power or used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks or a mobile home.

• "Negligence" as a common definition: The failure to exercise that degree of care that, in the circumstances, the law requires for the protection of other persons or those interests of other persons that may be injuriously affected by the want of such care.

• "Reckless" as a common definition: The state of mind where a person deliberately and unjustifiably pursues a course of action while consciously disregarding any risks flowing from such action.


• Possession of operator's or chauffeur's license. (257.311)

The licensee shall have his or her operator's or chauffeur's license, or the receipt..., in his or her immediate possession at all times when operating a motor vehicle, and shall display the same upon demand of any police officer, who shall identify himself or herself as such.

• Causing or permitting unlicensed minor to drive. (257.325)

It shall be unlawful for any person to cause or knowingly permit any minor to drive a motor vehicle upon a highway as an operator, unless the minor has first obtained a license to drive a motor vehicle.

• Accidents involving and unattended vehicle. (257.620)

The driver of any vehicle which collides upon either public or private property with any vehicle which is attended or unattended shall immediately stop and shall then and there either locate and notify the operator or owner of such vehicle of the name and address of the driver and owner of the vehicle striking the vehicle or, if such owner cannot be located, shall forthwith report it to the nearest or most convenient police officer.

• Careless or negligent operation of vehicle as civil infraction. (257.626b)

A person who operates a vehicle upon a highway or a frozen public lake, stream, or pond or other place open to the general public including an area designated for the parking of vehicles in a careless or negligent manner likely to endanger any person or property, but without wantonness or recklessness, is responsible for a civil infraction.

• Reckless driving as a misdemeanor. (257.626)

A person who operates a vehicle upon a highway or a frozen public lake, stream, or pond or other place open to the general public, including, but not limited to, an area designated for the parking of motor vehicles, in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of a misdemeanor.

• Overtaking and passing on left of another vehicle. (257.638)

A vehicle shall not be driven to the left side of the center of a 2-lane highway or in the center lane of a 3-lane highway in overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction unless the left side or center lane is clearly visible and is free of oncoming traffic for a sufficient distance ahead to permit the overtaking and passing to be completely made without interfering with the safe operation of a vehicle approaching from the opposite direction or the vehicle overtaken.

• Seats and foot rests or pegs on a motorcycle. (257.658a)

A motorcycle shall be equipped with adequate seats and foot rests or pegs for each designated seating position. Foot rests or pegs must be securely attached. A passenger shall not ride on a motorcycle unless his or her feet can rest on the assigned foot rests or pegs except that this requirement does not apply to a person who is unable to reach the foot rests or pegs due to a permanent physical disability.

• Carrying package, bundle, or article on bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device, moped, or motorcycle. (257.661)

A person operating a bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device, moped, or motorcycle shall not carry any package, bundle, or article that prevents the driver from keeping both hands upon the handlebars of the vehicle.

• Unattended parked vehicle. (257.676)

A person shall not allow a motor vehicle to stand on a highway unattended without engaging the parking brake or placing the vehicle in park, stopping the motor of the vehicle, and removing and taking possession of the ignition key. If the vehicle is standing upon a grade, the front wheels of the vehicle shall be turned to the curb or side of the highway. This section does not apply to a vehicle that is standing in place and is equipped with a remote start feature, if the remote start feature is engaged.


— This information is provided to you for clarification on specific laws, and not legal advice. This is not to be construed as a personal opinion, agreement or disagreement of any specific law. Topics covered are for educational and informational purposes only. As needed, excerpts from other articles are used for reference and/or content. If you have any questions on any specific topic, you may always email me your questions to