Sale or Gift of Membership Card, Badge or Device Implying Less Vigorous Law Enforcement For the Holder (Courtesy Cards)- Penal Code Section 146d

It is illegal to give somene a badge, card, sticker or any other item which suggests that the recipient will be subjected to less rigorous law enforcement than other members of the public. Family members and friends of peace officers sometimes receive “courtesy cards” to help them get out of traffic tickets and minor encounters with the police.1  According to Los Angeles Attorney Sandor Boxer, “there was a time when a friendly peace officer would hand out ‘courtesy cards’ that were supposed to be good for one ticket.”2   In 2012, NBC television obtained copies of courtesy cards issued by police officers to family members through a professional law enforcement association.3  This practice is illegal under California law.

It is a misdemeanor under California law to give a person a badge, card, sticker or other item which suggests that the holder should be given unwarranted courtesies during traffic stops, etc.4

Sources Cited:

  1. “‘Courtesy Cards’ Shield Bearer From Traffic Tickets, by Roger M. Grace, Metropolitan News-Enterprise, October 27, 2015. Click here for article.
  2. ‘Courtesy Cards’ Shield Bearer From Traffic Tickets, by Roger M. Grace, Metropolitan News-Enterprise, October 27, 2015. Click here for article.
  3. ‘Courtesy Cards’ Shield Bearer From Traffic Tickets, by Roger M. Grace, Metropolitan News-Enterprise, October 27, 2015. Click here for article.
  4.  Pen. Code Section 146d.
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