Top 5 motor vehicle stops that surprise drivers

In Pennsylvania a police officer must either have reasonable suspicion or probable cause that a violation of the motor vehicle code has occurred in order to stop a vehicle. Probable cause is required when the alleged violation is complete, for example speeding or an expired inspection sticker.  Only reasonable suspicion is required if the alleged violation requires further investigation, for example driving on a suspended license or DUI.  Because an officer has to have some level of cause to stop a driver, many look for minor violations of the motor vehicle code to justify a stop.

Here are the top 5 most surprising items that can cause you to get stopped without a moving violation:

5) multiple pairs of auxiliary (fog) lights.  You can only have one pair;

4) objects hanging from the rearview mirror.  If it “materially obstructs” the driver’s view you can be stopped;

3)  brake light malfunction.  You can be stopped if any one of the multiple bulbs making up your third brake light isn’t working;

2) license plate bulbs not bright enough.  Your license plate must be visible 50 feet away; and

1) if your registration sticker isn’t placed in the indented portion of your license plate.  Yes sir, not only must you show a current registration sticker, but it must be placed on that one place of the license plate with the rectangular indentation.  If it’s not, you can legally be stopped.

If your motor vehicle stop has gotten you charged with a more serious offense, contact one of the criminal defense attorneys at Trinity Law.