Is Flashing Your Car’s Headlights Speech that is Protected by the First Amendment?

A federal judge in Missouri recently answered that question with a resounding “yes.”  The judge held that a driver could not be prosecuted for flashing his headlights, even if the purpose for flashing them was to warn oncoming drivers to a speed trap.

The federal judge ruled that the First Amendment’s freedom of speech protection shielded the driver from any liability for flashing his headlights to warn other drivers of a police speed trap, and dismissed a Missouri town’s case against the driver.  The man was pulled over and issued a citation for flashing his lights to oncoming cars, one of which was a police cruiser.  The judge held that it violated the driver’s Constitutional right to freedom of speech to prosecute him for exercising his right to communicate or “speak” a message, even if the communication devices were his headlamps.  The judge also found that the driver was not obstructing justice because he had no knowledge that the oncoming drivers were actually violating the law (whether by speeding or for any other reason).

For more information on this story, please feel free to call Josh Glikin of Bowie & Jensen.  Mr. Glikin is an experienced litigator who handles First Amendment/free speech litigation in federal courts.

 See the video below from the Huffington Post: