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Do you have something hanging on the rear view vehicle of your car?
If you do, that can be a violation of N.J.S. 39:3-74 and can be the basis for an officer to pulling you over.
N.J.S. 39:3-74 provides 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.” What does this mean? If you have something hanging on the rear view mirror and an officer sees it, he or she has all the reason he or she needs to pull you over.
So, what if I am convicted for 39:3-74?
A conviction for N.J.S. 39:3-74 is an inconsequential fine of $25 plus court costs of $33. It isn’t the conviction that is a problem, rather the fact that it gives an officer a reason to pull you over. Whatever the officer then discovers can be used against you. So if you have an open container of alcohol (N.J.S. 39:4-51b) driving without a license (N.J.S. 39:3-10) driving with a suspended license (N.J.S. 39:3-40) driving without insurance (NJ.S. 39:6b-2), driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (N.J.S. 39:4-50) or possession of a controlled or dangerous substance (N.J.S. 2c:35-10a) you will have to defend those charges on the merits.
That is what happened in State v. Barrow. There, a Monmouth court trial judge found that a pair of tiny boxing gloves, measuring 3 ½ inches by 3 ½ inches hanging from the defendant’s rear-view mirror provided the officer a reasonable suspicion to stop the car. The officer then found drugs in the car. The defense attorney filed a motion to suppress which was denied. The conviction was ultimately appealed to the Appellate Division that found that although the boxing gloves may not have been big enough to convict the defendant for N.J.S. 39:3-74, but it was enough to give the officer a reasonable suspicion that an infraction was occurring. So despite not being able to convict for N.J.S. 39:3-74, the court refused to suppress the drugs.
What can I do to avoid this?
Do yourself a favor. If you have something hanging on your rear view mirror, remove it. You may be saving yourself thousands of dollars and months or years of expensive litigation.
If you are facing serious motor vehicle charges call us at 888-695-6169.