Has it happened to you? A cop pulls you over for the petty reason that the license plate frame is microscopically obscuring about one thirtieth of the lettering of Garden State? Out comes the ticket book.

If you’ve done absolutely nothing wrong you can bet this was a pretext stop. A cop using the flimsiest legal reason to justify pulling you over for the purpose of hoping to find more.

Or sometimes an officer really will be giving you a break and writing you the no points frame ticket instead of a speeding ticket.

Well two cases went before the State Supreme Court about license plate frames obscuring a license plate. Oh, and those frames by the way? They’re most often put on by the dealer as free advertising for themselves.

Anyway, in one case a driver was found with a gun in the car after a frame stop. A unanimous decision was made that it was an unjustified stop therefore inadmissible evidence.

In another case of a frame stop they found drugs and the court ruled that one was admissible.

In the case of the drugs the frame entirely obscured all the lettering whereas in the gun case only about 10% of the letting was covered. Meaning you could still clearly tell it read Garden State.

Most frame violations will be in this category. And The State Supreme Court therefore just ruled that most of these traffic stops are not legal. Read more here from our own Michael Symons.

Now when it comes to petty tickets many have been there. My brother was once stopped on Valley Road in Clark for doing 26 in a 25. That wasn’t a break the officer gave him. That was the actual speed for which he was stopped and then ticketed. Was it just coincidence that my brother happened to be a long-haired teenager at the time driving a Ranchero with a wild paint job?

Petty tickets in New Jersey range from obscured view over a small hanging air freshener to a blinker “blinking too fast.” A friend once got nailed for that beauty.

I wonder when the Supreme Court will take up one of those cases, or one about a license plate being slightly crooked or not having your headlights on when wipers are on.

Yet truck nutz? Perfectly legal.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski. Any opinions expressed are Jeff Deminski's own.

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