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                 COURT OF APPEALS OF VIRGINIA



Present:  Judges Benton, Elder and Senior Judge Cole
Argued at Richmond, Virginia


NORMAN H. RAGLAND
                   MEMORANDUM OPINION BY
v.           Record No. 1036-96-2          JUDGE LARRY G. ELDER
                                          FEBRUARY 18, 1997
COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA


           FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF HENRICO COUNTY
                     James E. Kulp, Judge

         John B. Boatwright, III (Boatwright & Linka,
         on brief), for appellant.

         Leah A. Darron, Assistant Attorney General
         (James S. Gilmore, III, Attorney General, on
         brief), for appellee.


    Norman H. Ragland (appellant) appeals his conviction of a
second or subsequent offense of operating a motor vehicle after
having been declared an habitual offender in violation of Code
 46.2-357.  He contends that the trial court erred when it
denied his motion to suppress evidence obtained during a stop of
his car because the detaining police officer lacked a legally
cognizable reason to stop him.  For the reasons that follow, we
affirm.
                              I.
                             FACTS
    In 1988, appellant was adjudged to be an habitual offender
and his driver's license was revoked for a period of ten years.
Appellant was convicted of felony habitual offender in 1992.
    At 2:30 a.m. on February 4, 1995, Officer Douglas Burton of
the Henrico County Police Department was on patrol when he
observed a vehicle with an anomalous tail light.  Officer Burton
noticed that the red plastic cover of this tail light was askew
so that about an inch and a half of white light emanated from it.
The other tail light was completely covered by its red plastic
cover and was functioning properly.  Officer Burton initiated a
traffic stop of the vehicle, during which he discovered that
appellant was the driver.
    Appellant was charged with a second or subsequent offense of
operating a motor vehicle after having been declared an habitual
offender in violation of Code   46.2-357.  At trial, the
Commonwealth's evidence consisted of Officer Burton's testimony
and proof of appellant's prior convictions.  At the close of the
Commonwealth's case, appellant moved to suppress the evidence
obtained by Officer Burton during the stop of his car.  The trial
court denied appellant's motion, and a jury convicted appellant
of a second or subsequent offense of operating a motor vehicle
after having been declared an habitual offender.  
                              II.
                     THE BROKEN TAIL LIGHT
    Appellant contends that the trial court erred when it denied
his motion to suppress because Officer Burton had no legal reason
to stop his vehicle on February 4, 1995.  Specifically, appellant
argues that Officer Burton could not stop his vehicle on the
basis of his broken tail light because driving a vehicle with one
broken tail light while the other tail light functions properly
is not a violation of Virginia law.  We disagree.
    "Motor vehicles operating on the highways of this State are
required to comply with the statutes relating to lighting
equipment in effect at the time of their operation."  Hall v.
Hockaday, 206 Va. 792, 798, 146 S.E.2d 215, 219 (1966).  We hold
that the trial court did not err in denying appellant's motion to
suppress because Officer Burton's stop of appellant's car was
based on a reasonable, articulable suspicion that appellant's
automobile had defective equipment.  Cf. Freeman v. Commonwealth,
20 Va. App. 658, 660-61, 460 S.E.2d 261, 262 (1995).  Virginia
law makes it unlawful for a person to drive a vehicle that has a
defective tail light on the highways of the Commonwealth.  Code
 46.2-1003 states that:
         it shall be unlawful for "any person to use
         or have as equipment on a motor vehicle
         operated on a highway any device or equipment
         mentioned in   46.2-1002 which is defective
         or in unsafe condition.
(Emphasis added).  Included among the equipment mentioned in Code
 46.2-1002 is ". . . any lighting device . . . for which
approval is required by any provision of this chapter . . . ."
Code   46.2-1013 requires tail lights used on motor vehicles to
be approved by the superintendent of the Department of State
Police of the Commonwealth.  Thus, under Code   46.2-1003, it is
unlawful to drive a car that has a tail light in defective
condition.
              The record indicates that Officer Burton stopped appellant's
car because of a reasonable, articulable suspicion that appellant
was driving a car with a defective tail light.  "Defective" is
commonly defined as "falling below an accepted standard in
regularity and soundness of form or structure."  Webster's Third
New International Dictionary 591 (1981).  The Virginia Code
requires tail lights to be a "red light plainly visible in clear
weather from a distance of 500 feet to the rear of such vehicle."
Code   46.2-1013.  Officer Burton observed that the red plastic
covering of appellant's tail light was out of place so that it
emanated both a red light and a white light that was plainly
visible to him from a distance.  Because Officer Burton saw that
appellant's tail light deviated from the standard for tail lights
set forth in Code   46.2-1013, he had reason to conclude that
appellant was driving a car with a defective tail light.
    Appellant contends that Officer Burton had no legal
justification to stop appellant because driving a car with one
defective tail light and one functioning tail light is legal in
Virginia.  Specifically, appellant argues that Code   46.2-1013
must be read together with Code   46.2-1003 and that a driver
does not violate Code   46.2-1003 if his car has at least one
tail light that functions in accordance with Code   46.2-1013.
We disagree because appellant's proposed reading of these two
code provisions fails to give full effect to the apparent intent
of Code   46.2-1003.  "'In construing a statute the court should
seek to discover the intention of the legislature as ascertained
from the act itself when read in the light of other statutes
relating to the same subject matter.'  'Two statutes which are
closely interrelated must be read and construed together and
effect given to all of their provisions.'"  Tharpe v.
Commonwealth, 18 Va. App. 37, 43, 441 S.E.2d 228, 232 (1994)
(citations omitted).  Code   46.2-1013 is codified among the
provisions in Title 46.2 that set forth the minimum requirements
for "lights and turn signals" with which all vehicles must
comply.  Code   46.2-1003, on the other hand, is codified among
the provisions regarding "vehicle and equipment safety."  It does
more than set a minimum standard; it regulates the maintenance of
devices or equipment used on a vehicle.  In particular, Code
 46.2-1003 prohibits the use on a vehicle of any equipment
mentioned in Code   46.2-1002 that is either unsafe or defective,
whether or not this equipment exceeds the minimum requirements
set forth elsewhere in the Code.  Thus, the apparent intent of
Code   46.2-1003 is to compel automobile owners to repair or
replace any of their vehicle's equipment that falls into a
defective or unsafe condition.  Appellant's harmonization of Code
 46.2-1003 with Code   46.2-1013 has the effect of eviscerating
the impact of Code   46.2-1003 because it would create an entire
class of equipment that may be legally used on a vehicle in an
unsafe or defective condition simply because the equipment is in
excess of the Code's minimum requirements.  We will not construe
these two provisions to achieve such an unwarranted result.  See
Branch v. Commonwealth, 14 Va. App. 836, 839, 419 S.E.2d 422, 424
(1992).
    For the foregoing reasons, we hold that the stop was lawful.
Therefore, we affirm the conviction of a second or subsequent
offense of operating a motor vehicle after having been declared
an habitual offender in violation of Code   46.2-357.
                                                       Affirmed.                                                             

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