New Jersey’s Supreme Court has made it more difficult for police to stop cars with license plate frames that obscure parts of the plate.
The court says it’s a violation that is issued 100,000 times per year in the state and often is used as a pretext for police searches.
The ruling Monday held a 2016 stop and search was illegal because the frame obscured only about 10 to 15% of the words “Garden State.”
A lower court had held the search was legal and cited a state law prohibiting frames that obscure any part of any marking imprinted on the plate.
During a 2018 PIX11 investigation, veteran traffic attorney Jason Seidman, of the Law Office of John Marshall, said the obscured license plate ticket was very difficult to fight.
“Technically under N.J. law, any imprinting on the plate can’t be obstructed,” Seidman said.
That includes the top of the ’N’ in New Jersey, the bottom of the ‘G’ in Garden State, and of course any of the letters on the plate.
A spokeswoman for the New Jersey MVC told PIX11 in 2018 that the department advises dealers to make sure their plate holders don’t block anything— but few listen.