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DUI Resulting From Air Freshener Stop

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DUI Resulting From Air Freshener Stop

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DUI from Air Freshener Stop
David Scherr, Esq., argued to the Vermont Supreme Court that police cannot stop a vehicle just for having an air freshener dangling from its rear view mirror. In State v. Hurley a Bennington area police officer pulled over Mr. Hurley solely because he had an air freshener hanging in his rear view mirror. Mr. Hurley was subjected to standard field sobriety tests and was ultimately arrested for DUI. Attorney Scherr of Burke Law argued that the Vermont statute that prohibits windshields from being obstructed required a law enforcement officer to first determine if a hanging object obstructed a driver’s view before pulling over the vehicle and that an officer may not automatically stop a vehicle for simply having an air freshener or other object hanging from the rearview mirror. The State argued that all the statute required was that an object was hanging from the rearview mirror and that the officer did not need to determine if that object obstructed the windshield.

On March 6, 2015, the Vermont Supreme Court held that the State’s interpretation was incorrect and concluded that “an operator of a motor vehicle violates 23 V.S.A. § 1125 only when an object hanging behind the windshield materially obstructs the driver’s view, and that a traffic stop is thus impermissible unless the officer can demonstrate a reasonable, articulable suspicion that a hanging object materially obstructs the driver’s view.”

Local news channel WPTZ covered the case from Supreme Court oral argument to ruling. The two part series links are:
Part 1 (aired October 7, 2014)
Part 2 (aired March 5, 2015)

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