Can a Driver be Pulled over for a Hanging Air Freshener?
Driving with an obstructed view is often a violation of traffic rules, depending on the statutes in your specific area. While a hanging air freshener might seem like a minor obstruction, and you might not even think of it as such, what matters is the interpretation of the police officer who stops you. If you have been pulled over for your air freshener obstructing your view and have been charged with that and/or other crimes, contacting a Texas criminal defense attorney as soon as possible is imperative. The Law Office of Brent D. Bowen has the experience and is ready to advocate for you.
An Obstructed View Can Serve as a Prerequisite to a Traffic Stop
If you have an obstructed view in your windshield, that obstruction can be used as a reason to stop you. Under the Texas Transportation Code, a vehicle cannot have features or passengers that obstruct the view of the front or sides of the vehicle for the operator. When there is a statute that makes such a determination without further detail, the ability to enforce the statute depends upon the interpretation of the statute by the police officer. While it might seem that an air freshener would not obstruct your view, it is arguable that it could, and the police may use this as a reason to pull you over.
What To Do If You are Pulled Over for an Air Freshener
If you’ve been pulled over by police, it is first and foremost important to remain calm and be respectful to the officers. This will keep the interaction civil, and you might ask why the officer has pulled you over. If the reason is for an obstructed view, and the officer has no further reasonable suspicion of other criminal activity, you can be cited for the violation, and you should be allowed to go about your day. However, this is not always the case.
Pulling You Over Does Not Justify a Search or Police Violence
The highly-publicized 2021 police shooting of Daunte Wright allegedly began with a pull-over justified by an air freshener hanging in the window. The practice of pulling people over for air fresheners has reportedly impacted people of color disproportionately and has led to other illegal searches and officer-involved violence. A federal case has determined that a tree-shaped air freshener obstructed a driver’s view and is a viable reason for pulling drivers over.
Contact a TX Criminal Defense Attorney for Help on Your Charges
If you’re one of the unfortunate individuals who has been pulled over for an air freshener in your car, you could face a citation or significantly more serious circumstances. Reaching out to a Texas criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible after your arrest will help you ensure that your rights are protected. Schedule a consultation now for help on your case from the Law Office of Brent D. Bowen.