We are all aware that we can get pulled over for blowing through a stop sign or driving with a broken tail light and that these can lead to getting ticketed. When we're ticketed for a broken tail light it's called a mechanical violation, whereas being ticketed for running a stop sign is a moving violation since the vehicle was in motion at the time of the violation.
While non-moving violations are less serious than moving violations, a routine traffic stop for expired registration or windows with too much tint can lead to the police officer ticketing you for something else.
What's more, if the police are ticketing you for something such as a broken brake light, if they see something such as an open bottle of alcohol or drug paraphernalia that are in "plain view", it can give the police probable cause to search your vehicle, which can lead to more serious charges.
In addition to moving violations, there are several other reasons why the police might pull you over, any of which can lead to a search of your vehicle and down the wrong path. Here are some common irregularities that may grab an officer's attention and lead to a traffic stop.
- Expired Registration. Expired registration is usually a direct indicator that the driver is driving without insurance; therefore, if an officer spots expired tags, it's a red flag that requires investigation.
- Overly Tinted Windows. Let's begin by saying that police officers prefer to be able to see inside of a vehicle so they can watch the suspect for any sudden movements. When a police officer cannot see what's going on inside of a vehicle, it immediately puts them on guard since police officers get killed at traffic stops. Having dark tinted windows that significantly impair the officer's visibility into a vehicle is an attention grabber.
- Poorly Loaded Truck. We've all been on the freeway and seen a random pickup truck filled with mattresses and furniture that look like they were going to spill out on the highway at any moment. If the police notice this, it can be grounds for a ticket.
- Burned Out Headlights. Burned out headlights can be very dangerous when driving at night. If an officer observes this condition, he or she may suspect drunk driving or at the very least they will be concerned that it can lead to an accident since other drivers cannot easily see the front of a vehicle at night with burned out headlights.
- Loud Exhaust Modifications. If a car has loud exhaust modifications, the driver can reasonably expect the vehicle to be a magnet for the police.
- Unsafe Conditions. If your car has a dangling bumper or a side mirror hanging by a thread, these unsafe conditions are easy for a cop to spot. At any given moment an unsafe situation such as a broken bumper can fall off on the highway and cause an accident and cops are on the lookout for situations such as these.
- Broken Tail Light. Having a broken turn signal, a broken tail light, or a broken brake light are all cop-attention getters, especially when driving at night. If any one of these things isn't working, you can expect to eventually get pulled over. While you may not get a moving violation since you may have not been aware of the problem, you can be ticketed for a mechanical violation.
- No Side or Rearview Mirror. Since most states have laws enacted requiring a driver side mirror, a rearview mirror inside the vehicle and a side mirror, if an officer observes you driving without one of these, you can expect to get ticketed.
We all have to remain rather vigilant when it comes to the condition of our vehicles and vehicle maintenance. If you are pulled over in a routine traffic stop we recommend being polite and cooperating with the police. If you are ticketed for speeding, or driving on an expired license, or driving without insurance, or for another reason, you always have the option of fighting your ticket in court.
At Taylor & Waldrop, we have extensive experience representing clients against DUI charges, driving on a revoked license and numerous other traffic offenses and we have helped countless individuals avoid points on their license, hefty fines, and the loss of their driving privileges.
Contact a St. Augustine traffic attorney from our firm today by calling (888) 387-9958 to find out what we can do to help your case!