The police pulled me over for ‘no reason’, because they said my ‘view was obstructed’…but it wasn’t, and now I’m under arrest!
In New Jersey, if an officer thinks a driver’s view is obstructed, that is a sufficient basis for him or her to stop you. That means if you hang something from the rear-view mirror (like an air freshener, baby shoes, a rosary, etc.) the officer is justified in stopping you. The same is true if they observe you committing any other moving or equipment violation such as: crossing a solid white lane marking; failing to come to a full-complete stop at a red traffic light; driving on the shoulder of the roadway; or, tailgating the car in front of you. In almost all cases, the Judge does not accept the defense of ‘everyone else was doing it, so why did the officer pick me…’ as a way to avoid either the ticket or any other crime you then get charged with. Whatever the police then observe after they have you stopped (by seeing it, smelling it, or hearing it), can be the basis for them searching your car, your person, and potentially your passengers, or containers in the vehicle. Whatever they seize during this search will be admissible against you in a prosecution for any crime you are charged with. Lesson? The rosary might better serve you in the glove compartment of your vehicle than hanging from the center of your vehicle. It’s a “red flag”, and you can soon see red flashing lights in that same rear view mirror from which your rosary hangs. Whether your rosary protects you from a ticket is another thing! Better to keep your vision unobstructed and remove all material that hangs from the rear view mirror.
SPECIALIZING IN CRIMINAL DEFENSE THROUGHOUT NEW JERSEY
Howard W. Bailey, Esq.
550 Broad Street, Suite 601
Newark, NJ 07102