Weigand says he's considering whether to continue fighting this issue. He says some people might think he's crazy but he says others are supporting him. The judge ruled he must pay the $30 fine and court costs.
Update, February 17, 2011
The Wichita man who wears a homemade seat belt will continue his legal battle. Paul Weigand hired attorney Sean Hatfield and filed an appeal Thursday. He's appealing his recent conviction for violating the primary seat belt law.
Weigand has worn a seat belt belt since last year when Kansas passed the primary seat belt law. Weigand says the law doesn't specifically say a seat belt has to be attached to the vehicle and that's why he believes his homemade seat belt meets the letter of the law.
He says he has a phobia of being trapped or burned inside a car and that's why he doesn't want to wear a seat belt. He says if he is killed in an accident, that is his problem and the government should not force him to wear a seat belt.
Last week, Weigand presented his case in Wichita Municipal Court. He was fighting his ticket for not wearing a seat belt. The prosecutor admitted the law doesn't specifically say a seat belt has to be attached but she said the intent of the law is to protect drivers. She asked Weigand if his seat belt would protect him in an accident and he responded no.
The judge told Weigand it was his responsibility to follow the intent of the law and not the letter of the law. That's why he found Weigand guilty and charged him a $30 fine plus court costs.
Weigand says he filed the appeal with the goal to change the wording of the law. His next court date has not yet been set, count on Eyewitness News to let you know when it happens. In the meantime, he continues to wear his homemade seat belt.
Update, February 10
A homemade seat belt doesn't qualify as a seat belt under law. That's what a Wichita municipal judge told Paul Weigand Thursday. Weigand went to trial to try and fight a ticket he received for violating the state's primary seat belt law. He says the law doesn't specifically say the seat belt has to be attached to the vehicle, so his seat belt belt should be enough.
The atmosphere is court was jovial. The judge, prosecutor and police officers had a little fun with what Weigand was trying to prove. The officer testified that Weigand was cooperative when he was pulled over and said he had actually looked forward to it. The officer says he was caught off guard at first when he saw the fake seat belt. He says he asked Weigand to get out of the car to make sure it wasn't attached to the vehicle. He proceeded to take video of Weigand's seat belt belt and wrote him a ticket.
The prosecutor went on to say that Weigand was right, the law didn't specifically state the seat belt had to be attached. But she says the intent of the law is to protect drivers. She asked Weigand if his seat belt would protect him in a crash. He said no, but he was willing to take his chances because he has a phobia of being trapped in a burning car.
The judge went on to tell Weigand that his job was to follow the intent of the law set fourth by lawmakers. He says although it's an interesting issue, seat belts save lives and that is why the law is in place. He told Weigand that he should consult a doctor about his phobia, because doctors have the authority to write a note saying there's a medical reason to not wear a seat belt.
The judge says Weigand's 15 minutes of fame from this case will cost him $2 a minute. The ticket fine was $30 plus another $96 in court costs. Weigand has the ability to appeal, but he says he doesn't know if it's worth it. He wore his actual seat belt when he left city hall saying police were probably watching him. He also plans to call his doctor. He doesn't know how much longer he'll wear his fake seat belt. He says he's made his point, but it didn't get him very far.