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Case against toll-flouting 'license plate flipper' dismissed...but only for a moment

A judge has found "no probable cause" in the arrest of Preston Cody Talbot, who was accused of avoiding paying tolls by using a device that flips and conceals his license plate. But that's not the end of the story.

HOUSTON — The driver who Harris County officials said racked up more than $5,400 in tolls by using a device that flips and conceals his license plate is free after a judge found there was no probable cause for his arrest.

However, that's not the end of the story.

"The judge found no (probable cause) but the charge remains in place," an official with the Harris County District Attorney's Office said in a statement Thursday. "The DA Office must file a dismissal for a case to be dismissed, but we have not done yet so as the case remains under investigation, including points of law and developing evidence."

Preston Cody Talbot was arrested Friday on a charge of possession of a "license plate flipper," according to The Harris County Precinct 4 Constable’s Office. 

RELATED: In Texas it's illegal to buy, sell or own a 'license plate flipper'

A deputy pulled Talbot over when they said he failed to pay a toll on the North Sam Houston Parkway West. During the traffic stop, deputies found the license plate flipper on the rear of the vehicle.

"He would activate this device, putting a flipper down in front of his license plate, so the cameras at toll plazas couldn’t read his plate,” said Constable Mark Herman.

The electronic device allows a driver to flip between two license plates at a touch of a button in a 180-degree fashion. That means a driver can flash a different plate when traveling through a toll to avoid getting photographed and penalized for not paying.

However, it is illegal to buy, sell or own a license plate flipper in Texas.

After we posted this story to our Facebook page, Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman commented, saying that this case isn't over yet. 

"We are in the process of determining what the judge did not understand," Herman wrote.

He went on to say they have two years to retry the case.


ABOVE: Mother of son who used license plate flipper: 'Obviously, this was a stupid mistake'