Many of us, I am sure, have a bad habit of hanging things from our rear view mirrors. I am not talking about parking garage passes and smaller items; I mean those things that hang down a ways from the mirror itself. This can be a problem.
New Jersey law states that "[N]o person shall drive any vehicle so constructed, equipped or loaded as to unduly interfere with the driver's vision to the front and to the sides." In other words, you can get pulled over for hanging on your mirror those beads from last Mardi Gras.
How Can the Danglers Make Things Worse?
This stop, however, could lead to bigger trouble. The New Jersey Appellate Court ruled in State v. Barrow that a pair of tiny boxing gloves, measuring 3½ inches by 3½ inches that were hanging from the defendant's rear-view mirror, provided a police officer with sufficient reasonable suspicion to stop of the defendant's car. This stop ultimately resulted in the discovery of drugs in the defendant's possession.
The irony of the case is that the court commented that the tiny gloves may not have been large enough to support a conviction under the law; they just provided enough probable cause to support the stop and the discovery of the drugs!
So What Do I Do?
Two things to bear in mind here:
- be sure that your rear view mirror is clear of items that may obstruct your view; and
- Once the police have justification to stop you for one offense, said stop may well lead to other, bigger, problems for you!
If you have received a ticket in southern New Jersey, please feel free to call me at 856-432-4113 or contact me through this site to schedule an appointment for a free consultation in my Woodbury office. If you are out of state or out of the area, this can be done by phone
If you are looking for more information on New Jersey's traffic laws, then download my free book, A Guide to Driving Legally in NJ, and Surviving Traffic Court If You Don't.