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Don't photocopy your driver's license as a theft deterrent

I sometimes park at county boat ramps or hiking trailheads and leave my car for several hours. Because I’ve had friends who’ve had their cars broken into at such places and have had their wallets stolen, sometimes I don’t bring my wallet with me. I have a color copy of my driver’s license in the car. If I were stopped by police or a state trooper while driving to and from, would I be given a ticket for not having my actual license on me?

— JR, outdoors enthusiast

Oh, please, don’t do that, JR. Cease and desist. Shred or burn or just fold in half and throw it away, but get rid of that color copy. It’s a crime.

“Unfortunately you have a few things going on there,” Capt. Tim Fox of Oregon State Police said via email. “I understand the intent behind what they are trying to do, but it is a C felony to reproduce those documents.”

Oregon Revised Statute 807.500 states, “A person commits the offense of unlawful production of identification cards, licenses, permits, forms or camera cards if the person, without the authority of the Department of Transportation, advertises for the production of, produces in any way or causes to be produced any facsimiles of the identification cards, licenses, permits, forms or camera cards upon which the department issues identification cards, licenses or driver permits under the vehicle code.”

You’ve also got ORS 807.570 to deal with. That law states that you need to show your valid driver’s license when you’re “lawfully stopped or detained when driving a vehicle” or when you’re in an accident. It’s a class C misdemeanor if you don’t.

So take our advice, JR. When it comes to your license copy, ditch it or ticket.

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501 or by email to youasked@rosebudmedia.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.