One of the most common questions that I get asked is how to avoid getting pulled over. As most of you know an officer must have reasonable suspicion to stop you, except in the case of a DUI/Driver’s License Checkpoint. In other words, an officer cannot stop you for any reason. Usually, this amounts to the officer observing a violation of the California Vehicle Code. I have compiled a list of some common vehicle code section violations that could mean the difference between you getting home and you spending the night in jail.

  1. Always have a front and rear license plate.

See CVC section 5200 (a): When two license plates are issued by the department for use upon a vehicle, they shall be attached to the vehicle for which they were issued, one in the front and the other in the rear.

It does not matter that the new car you just bought does not have holes drilled for a front license plate. If you are issued two plates, you must display two plates.

  • Do not have objects dangling from your rearview mirror.

See CVC section 26708 (a) (1): A person shall not drive any motor vehicle with any object or material placed, displayed, installed, affixed or applied upon the windshield or side or rear windows.

There are exceptions. Most commonly we see GPS devices that are mounted. Be sure that your GPS device is mounted in a seven-inch square in the lower corner of the windshield farthest removed from the driver or in a five-inch square in the lower corner of the windshield nearest to the driver and outside of an airbag deployment zone.

  1. Do not ash or throw your cigarette out the window.

See CVC section 23111: No person in any vehicle and no pedestrian shall throw or discharge from or upon any road or highway or adjoining area, public or private, any lighted or non-lighted cigarette, cigar, match or any flaming or growing substance.

I know what you are thinking – you have seen it down a million times. Reality is, it is a vehicle code violation that can get you pulled over. Just don’t do it.

  • Do not have after-market tinted windows.

See CVC section 26708 listed above. The windshield and front driver’s side and passenger’s side windows may not receive any aftermarket tinting. The rear window may be tinted but the vehicle must be equipped with outside rearview mirrors on both sides.

  1. Make sure that all of your lights are operational on your vehicle.

See CVC section 24601: Either the taillamp or a separate lamp shall be so constructed and placed as to illuminate with a white light the rear license plate during darkness and render it clearly legible from a distance of 50 feet to the rear.

Remember, always check your headlights, taillights and the third brake-light . If any are non-operational it can result in you getting pulled over.