Legal Question in Traffic Law in Pennsylvania

Nitrous Oxide in cars legal?

I was wondering if it was legal to have a nitrous oxide system installed in my car. I've heard it wasn't legal so i wanted to find out.

Asked on 3/22/06, 9:40 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Roger Traversa Arjont Group (Law Office of Roger Traversa)

Re: Nitrous Oxide in cars legal?

I guess it depends on if the system is for the benefit of the cars or the occupants? OK, so it was a good joke. (Nitrous Oxide is also known as laughing gas.)

There isn't a clear answer to your question. If your nitrous oxide system is installed for the purposes of street racing then the answer is no. Certain modifications to vehicles with the purpose of street racing are illegal. But if the modification is for the purposes of improving the efficiency or standard operation of the vehicle then it may be legal. BUT, the burden will be on you to prove that the system is installed for a legal purpose and not an illegal one. The reasoning behind this is to shift the burden f proof and change the standard of proof for the state.

The state's burden in proving an offense is "beyond a reasonable doubt." The law buhind vehicle modifications creates an automatic standard that the mod is there for reasons beyonf a reasonable doubt. The standard you would need to overcome is is called a "rebuttable presumption." If you can prove, with a preponderance of evidence, that you did not install the system for an illegal purpose then it is probably legal. But, if you install a NO2 system it is much more likely than not that you have made that modification from street racing. You would need to show, using expert testimony and evidence that the mod improved the efficiency and operation of the vehicle and was not useful for an illegal purpose.

So, pretty much the answer to your question is you will have to look to other more legal mods to beef up your street racer.


Roger Traversa

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Answered on 3/23/06, 8:51 am

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