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Who can and cannot confiscate your driver’s license?

Who can and cannot confiscate your driver’s license?

road traffic, cars on highway

Imagine you’re carefully driving along EDSA when a traffic enforcer suddenly flags down your car and asks you to stop on the sideroad. You’re quite curious why you were called out despite knowing you haven’t violated any road rules. When the traffic enforcer asks for your driver’s license, what will you do?

Situations like these happen every day but in cases you are aware of violating a certain road sign or road mark, you are required to face an enforcer. 

The Land Transportation Office (LTO) is a government agency responsible for all land transportations in the country. It issues driver’s licenses: student permit, non-professional, or professional. Because the LTO is the only agency that gives a driver’s license, it is also the only agency that can confiscate it. 

Now who are these officials who can confiscate your license when you’re caught violating road rules? Republic Act 4136 states that only officials who are deputized by the LTO are allowed to. Officials have mission orders which consist of their area of responsibility, time of duty, official function, and an indication of whether they’re authorized to issue tickets or confiscate licenses. On one hand, only deputized officials have Temporary Operator’s Permit (TOP) which is used as a receipt that a driver’s license was confiscated.

On the other hand, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) officials cannot confiscate licenses if they only have a traffic citation ticket. An MMDA officer can ask for your license if you violated a road rule, but they cannot confiscate it especially if they’re not deputized by the LTO. 

The Land Transportation and Traffic Code indicates the list of violations any driver may commit while driving. If you’re being apprehended of violating a traffic law, it is important for you to know which of these traffic codes you are actually violating. These include violations concerning licensing, violations concerning registration, violations concerning number plates and stickers, violations relative to equipment parts, accessories, devices and marking of a motor vehicle, and violations concerning weights and load limits.

Having a driver’s license is a privilege and not a constitutional right. You have acquired your license based on your abilities and your agreement with the law thus it’s important for you to equip yourself with proper knowledge of your rights as a driver. 



Header photo courtesy of  Connor Williams on Unsplash

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Writer: BEA NICOLE AMARILLE © 2020. Hinge Inquirer Publications, Inc.