Traffic Violations – Hanging Object from Rearview Mirror Leads to Conviction

Do you hang anything from your rearview mirror? Be careful. The Virginia Court of Appeals has approved a traffic stop solely because the driver had a 3" by 5" parking pass hanging from the driver's rearview mirror. Some of the Judges of the Court of Appeals even acknowledged that there is no real guidance on how large the item dangling from the rearview mirror has to be, before an officer can stop you.

In Mason v. Commonwealth, an opinion released on February 3, 2015, a divided Virginia Court of Appeals found that a traffic was not improper because “a reasonable officer could suspect that the opaque, five-by-three-inch parking pass dangling from a rearview mirror might violate Code Sec. 46.2-1054 and thus warrant an investigatory stop.”

Although an officer must have some reasonable suspicion of a violation of Virginia Law, here the officer stopped the motorist because a three inch by five inch parking pass, hung from the vehicle’s rearview mirror, may have constituted a large enough obstruction to the driver’s view to create a hazard.  The Appellate Court, while not specifically setting out a size guideline on what would be a large enough obstruction of the driver’s view to warrant investigation, nevertheless upheld the stop and the later search of the vehicle.

If you have been stopped for a traffic violation or had your vehicle searched and are charged with a crime, call your Fredericksburg Criminal Defense Lawyers and your Spotsylvania Traffic Lawyers at Jarrell, Hicks & Waldman, PC – 540-582-5300.

* This blog post is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice in your individual matter, and should not be relied upon as such.  The success of each case is dependent upon the merits of the claims made and the evidence available and presented.

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