What is the Difference Between a Primary and Secondary Traffic Offense in Kansas City?

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If you drive in Kansas City, you are probably aware that there are certain types of traffic violations for which a law enforcement official can stop you. Indeed, you may know that if you are speeding, or if you run a red light, you can be pulled over and cited. What you may not know is that there are some types of traffic violations for which you cannot be stopped. Instead, you can only be cited for those offenses if you are already stopped for a primary offense. If you are stopped for a secondary offense and cited, that citation may not be lawful.

 We want to provide you with more information about the difference between primary and secondary offenses in Kansas City. If you did receive a traffic ticket, you may be able to fight it, depending upon the circumstances.

What is a Primary Offense?

The term ‘primary offense,’ when it comes to traffic violations, refers to offenses or violations for which you can be stopped. As we mentioned above, most of the traffic violations you would commonly think about are primary offenses. For instance, driving beyond the posted speed limit, running a red light or a stop sign, failing to signal appropriately, failing to stop at a crosswalk for pedestrians, and failing to stop for a school bus are all primary offenses in Kansas City, under both Missouri and Kansas law.

 In Kansas City, Missouri, it is also a primary offense if you do not have a child properly restrained in an appropriate child safety seat. The Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) clarifies that the state’s child restraint law is a primary law, meaning that a driver can be stopped for that offense and cited.

Secondary Offenses in Kansas City

When it comes to wearing a seatbelt and having passengers safely buckled in, whether this is a primary or secondary law depends upon the age of the vehicle occupant and the state. Generally speaking, the driver is responsible for ensuring that minors in the car are properly restrained. Accordingly, a driver can be cited when a child is not properly restrained in a safety seat or wearing a seat belt. However, in Kansas City, Missouri, failing to wear a seat belt is only a secondary offense if the vehicle occupant is aged 16 or older and is riding in the front seat. Otherwise, it is a secondary offense. In Kansas, failure to wear a seat belt is a primary offense for anyone in the front seat, but a secondary offense for adult passengers in the back seat.

If a driver violates a secondary law, that driver cannot be stopped for that offense alone. However, if the driver is stopped for violating a primary law, then the secondary offense can also result in a citation.

Seek Advice From a Kansas City Traffic Lawyer

Do you need assistance fighting a traffic violation? An experienced Kansas City traffic defense lawyer can help. Contact Aimee the Attorney today to learn more about our services.

Aimee Gromowsky

Aimee Gromowsky is formerly an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney for Jackson County and currently a private practice lawyer. Ms. Gromowsky handles thousands of cases in Kansas City, Missouri area courts and was honored with a “Best in Bar” award in 2007 and 2008 from the Kansas City Business Journal. As a Kansas City traffic lawyer, Aimee is determined to represent you in your case by providing exceptional legal counsel and service.

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