A Criminal Defense Lawyer Grand Rapids, MI Trusts Explains Traffic Stops for Objects Hanging from Rear-View Mirror
If you have an air freshener hanging from your rear-view mirror, perhaps you’ve never thought that might be a reason for a police officer to pull you over. A criminal defense lawyer Grand Rapids, MI trust explains the current law on objects that hang from your rear-view mirror.
Very broadly, an officer needs a reason to pull your over. The officer either needs reasonable suspicion, more than just a hunch, that a crime has been committed or probable cause that a traffic violation has occurred in order to justify pulling you over. Sometimes, an officer has multiple reasons or looks for a traffic violation in order to act on a hunch, such as if someone in the vehicle has an arrest warrant or the officer suspects that there are drugs in the car.
If the traffic stop results in criminal charges, one of the first things your lawyer will want to know is why you were pulled over. Because there must be a legal basis for the police to temporarily detain you for a traffic stop, it is a very important aspect of any case. If there is no legal basis for the stop, your lawyer may be able to suppress evidence against you or even get your case dismissed.
So, what if you get pulled over for having an object, like an air freshener, dangling from your rear-view mirror? Under Michigan law, MCL 257.709(1)(c), drivers are not supposed to drive with an “object that obstructs the vision of the driver of the vehicle” except as otherwise authorized by law. Under that law, it is considered a traffic violation. As mentioned previously, officers need to show that there is reason to believe a traffic violation has occurred in order to lawfully pull you over. So that means that the stop could be justified if the officer had the requisite cause to believe the dangling object obstructed the vision of the driver.
Michigan courts have held that this type of stop is lawful, even if it is ultimately determined that thing the officer believed was obstructing the view of the driver, in fact, did not. The courts have found that the officer is within his lawful duties to stop and temporarily detain an individual to investigate the potential traffic violation.
While this type of stop is potentially lawful, it may still be challenged. The legality of the traffic stop is pivotal to a case where the facts which provide the basis for the criminal activity stem from the traffic stop. If you are charged with a crime as a result of a traffic stop for this reason or any number of reasons, you will want an attorney who will challenge the government to demonstrate that the stop was justified. Contact a criminal defense lawyer Grand Rapids, MI can rely on to provide effective representation. Call Blanchard Law at 616-773-2945 to speak to a lawyer today.