Every time I receive my car registration renewal in the mail I have two thoughts.  First, “has it really been a whole year already.”  And second, “Please don’t make me do Safety and Emissions inspections again.”  We got a “new” car last year so I checked out the DMV website to see if I needed a safety inspection this year (which thankfully I don’t).  As a self-proclaimed legal research nerd I quickly noticed that the website didn’t tell me where the schedule for safety inspections was coming from.  (No citations!!  The horror!!)  So, I decided I’d make a legal research question out of it.

To make it interesting (if that’s possible) to all of you, I thought I’d use the Utah government’s free Utah Code so that you can know it’s out there in case you ever want to use it.  It can often be a good alternative to paying Westlaw or Lexis.

You can google Utah Code, but there’s an old version out there that’s pretty ugly that will show up first.  I suggest going to the Utah Legislature’s webpage.  Once there, on the left you will see a link for Utah Code/Constitution that brings out a menu to the right.  You can browse through the Table of Contents or you can Keyword Search.  One of the drawbacks is that there isn’t an index, which can often be helpful when looking for statutory materials.

Since this is a fairly simple search, we’ll use the keyword search.  If I search for the phrase “safety inspection” I’ll get 29 results with the first one containing what I really want, Utah Code §53-8-205.

This version of the Code is unannotated–it just gives me the text of the code section.  Annotations are the big benefit provided by Westlaw and Lexis.  But, if you just need the text or are looking for a place to run some free searches, this version of the Utah Code is a good place to go.