The Law Regarding Windshield Objects is Very Specific
If you are thinking of placing a GPS unit in your car by affixing it to the windshield, think again, as this is likely to make you vulnerable to being pulled over and issued a citation. Police don’t care so much about a violation of that minor traffic offense as they do about using it as an excuse to pull people who over who they suspect may be involved in some kind of other illegal activity. Police will profile drivers and vehicle occupants to see if they look like the type of people who may be using drugs, driving while impaired, or doing something else criminal. If any of those poor profiled people have an object on their on their car’s front window, that’s typically all the police officer needs to make the stop.
In Utah, you cannot have any “nontransparent material on the windshield” unless it is “along the top edge of the windshield” but not down “more than four inches from the top edge” or it is “in the lower left-hand corner…provided they do not extend more than three inches to the right of the left edge or more than four inches above the bottom edge…” Utah Code 41-6a-1635.
Most people who attach a GPS unit to their car do so by affixing the sticky part to some part of the windshield that does not fall within the very narrow four inch and five inch exceptions included in the statute. So generally speaking, yes a police officer in Utah can pull you over for objects on your windshield.
The Rearview Mirror is Different
Law enforcement, however, cannot stop you for having something hanging down from your rear view mirror. There is nothing in the Utah Code that prohibits hanging items from the rearview mirror, yet cops are often pulling people for that very reason. If you get pulled over for having something hanging from your rearview mirror, challenge it. At Salcido Law Firm we have been successful in making such challenges and getting evidence suppressed and the case dismissed as a result. Contact us if you think you were unlawfully stopped by the police for having a windshield violation.