Video: Man ticketed for warming up car in driveway loses in court

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ROSEVILLE, Mich. (AP) — Warming up your car in the driveway might be a Michigan winter tradition, but a judge says it’s not legal in a Detroit suburb if no one’s behind the wheel.

Nick Taylor challenged a $125 ticket in court yesterday and lost. His lawyer says a Roseville ordinance against unattended running vehicles shouldn’t apply to driveways. But Judge Marco Santia says the law is in the public interest.

Taylor got attention in January when he posted a photo of the ticket on Facebook. The post was shared more than 6,000 times and garnered more than 5,000 comments.

Roseville Police Chief James Berlin has defended the ticket. He says a thief could have stolen Taylor’s car.

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  • Zero

    “Roseville Police Chief James Berlin has defended the ticket. He says a thief could have stolen Taylor’s car.”
    Instead, he lost $125.

  • C. Gallagher

    For your Web Designer: The station’s website should have the CITY that you are located. Having to read through several stories top find it out is aggravating.

  • Tom Muck

    “Roseville Police Chief James Berlin has defended the ticket. He says a thief could have stolen Taylor’s car.” Instead, thieves stole $125 from him.

  • Lee Scott

    “Roseville Police Chief James Berlin has defended the ticket. He says a thief could have stolen Taylor’s car.”
    A burglar could have broken into his house too! They should fine him another $500 for that.
    Don’t they have laws against stealing cars? Isn’t that why we have police in the first place? The idea of fining an otherwise law-abiding citizen for something someone else MIGHT do is ludicrous. By that standard, just parking your car in the driveway could be a ticketable offense. Somebody might steal it then too.

    Now, if he had argued that an unattended running car might be an ‘attractive nuisance’ and tempt a young child to climb in and put it in gear, he’d be on much firmer legal ground.

    • Joseph A. Nagy, Jr.

      Still fining someone for what someone else may do. Not sure how that is ‘firm legal ground’.

  • Allen

    That is insane. You can’t dictate what a person does on their own property unless it causes a public safety issue. Like lighting your bushes on fire. Sure they are yours but you could burn down the neighbors house.
    What we have here is victim shaming, before he was even a victim. You can’t fine someone for something that could happen. The fact is, it didn’t. And if it did, the car owner is the victim.
    Sadly, a lot if rules like this are written in many towns.

  • Steve Cudd

    Where is the point that “common sense” should be used by a judge? The law is the law, but there are things in this world that are simple, common sense. Warming and deicing your vehicle in YOUR driveway should be viewed as a safer alternative.

    This law/ordnance should be changed.

  • Doug Nicholson

    The reason this law is on the books actually happened to my wife. It had snowed the night before and she was warming the car up in the driveway while getting the kids into their winter coats inside. As they were leaving the house for the car, 3 passing teenagers jumped into the car and stole it! Luckily, the mailman was coming along at that moment and my wife screamed to him that the car was being stolen. He heroically gave chase in his mail truck for about 1 1/2 miles, until they got stuck in traffic where they bailed out and ran. The car was recovered with no damage and no repercussions against my wife, although there WAS an ordinance against leaving an unattended vehicle running. I wrote a commendation letter to the USPS for the postman, though.

  • Kimberly Kimball

    Why are law enforcement officials conducting FRAUD against citizens ? The Public Corruption here in Michigan Starting with the State Attorney Generals who LIE about investigating and/or prosecuting for Public Corruption. What Roseville Court|Police did is OBSURD and a violation of civil rights in my opnion. I hope the victims files a Criminal Complaint for ABUSE of authority against the police and judge.

  • Simon Williams

    What if one had a remote starter (as many do) to warm up the car, and then it is clearly impossible for anyone to get in the car to steal or drive it, as the car remains locked until the driver eventually comes out?

  • Rich

    Not sure why this us even a story. Milwaukee and most suburbs have this law (unless you have remote start). With car theft up like 400% in Milwaukee there’s good reason for it.

    West Allis went on an enforcement binge 2 or 3 winters ago and ticket dozens of people who left their cars running while they ran into a gas station. Good reason for that too. We’ve had 5 or 6 cases where cars were stolen….WITH their infant or toddler still in the car seat in the back seat.

    • Anon

      That’s not always possible. I got a traffic ticket, and my attorney wanted a jury trial, but the judge insisted on a bench trial, which I felt would be little more than a show trial with a predetermined verdict, so I just pleaded nolo. Wouldn’t even allow the prosecutor to amend the charge.

  • pslinger

    I feel sooo much safer knowing that the government is protecting me from evil driverless cars that might hurt me.

  • Jason

    I order how many times the chief and the judge have warned up their cars and sat in them the whole time while warming them this winter.

  • Jack B. Nimble

    “A thief could have stolen his car!”

    Instead the city just steals his money!


  • Mark

    Can you also get a ticket for leaving your garage door open while you go back inside your house? Or how about leaving your windows or doors unlocked while you’re sitting in your back yard? Isn’t that just asking to be robbed?

  • Noel Singletary

    I don’t guess the judge has ever heard of carjackings. It don’t matter if you are in your car or not. The judge is a fool.

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