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Is It Illegal to Have Something Hanging From Your Rearview Mirror

First person view of a rearview mirror with a car freshener hanging off of it.

It may seem harmless or arbitrary but hanging something from your rearview mirror can land you in a lot of legal trouble. In several states, hanging an item from your rearview mirror is considered illegal and can land you a substantial fine. No matter how small or sentimental the item may be, receiving an obstruction of view citation can potentially cost you hundreds of dollars in court fees.

What is California’s Vehicle Mirror Law?

According to the California Vehicle Code Section 26708, all vehicles cannot have any kind of object or material placed on the front, side, and rearview mirror. This law is meant to prevent drivers from obstructing their field of vision when operating a vehicle and reduces the possibility of accidents based on an obstruction of vision.

Failure to comply with this law can result in a fine that averages around $25. However, depending on the severity of the violation and the jurisdiction of the assessing officer, these fines can be substantially increased.

What States Enforce This Law?

California, Illinois, Arizona, Texas, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania enforce this law and officers can pull over any vehicle and issue a citation in the form of a “fix it” ticket.

A “fix it” ticket is referred to as a correctable violation where those issued one are required to submit a proof of correction to your local court. These tickets must be verified and signed off by your local court officials in order for the citation to be properly dismissed. Failure to do so will result in an increase of court fees and additional fines.

Is It Illegal To Hang Your Air Freshener From Your Rearview Mirror?

According to the Vehicle Codes of California, Arizona, Texas, Illinois, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania, it is illegal to hang objects such as air fresheners on a rearview mirror because it is considered to be a visual obstruction. In fact, other popular and sentimental items such as rosemary beads, fuzzy dice, graduation tassels, and even handicap placards fit into this category and are considered to be an obstruction of view when the vehicle is in motion.

There is legal precedent of the subject as per FREEMAN v. COMMONWEALTH (2015) where a Virginia police officer pulled over a man with air fresheners hanging on his rearview mirror and the officer declared the violation as probable cause to search the driver’s vehicle. This led to a discovery of an illegal amount of drugs and the driver was convicted of drug possession.

Drug-impaired drivers are a huge safety risk because drivers who are under the influence are more likely to be visually impaired. With that in mind, any sort of visual obstruction that might be hanging on a rearview mirror could potentially lead to a tragic car accident.

As a result, any driver who is pulled over for hanging an object on their rearview mirror are subjected to penalties, fines, and possible further investigation by the assessing officer. The only exception to this rule is unless the vehicle is not in operation and/or parked.

How Much is a Ticket for Violating California’s Mirror Law?

Typically a mirror law violation is subjected to a timely fine that can range around $25. However, according to the California Vehicle Code Section 40310, any traffic penalty that is not paid within 20 days of the issue date is subject to a 50% upcharge of the original penalty.

For instance, an unpaid $80 fine would become a $120 fine after 20 days of the issue date.

What Should I Do When I Receive a Rearview Obstruction Citation?

Rearview citations can be easily solved and dismissed once you submit the necessary paperwork and pay the corrective fees at your local court.

However, if you are subjected to an unlawful traffic stop and would like to seek legal representation of the matter, contact us today by calling (213) 927-3700 or filling our contact form to schedule a free consultation with our compassionate and talented legal team.

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