Virginia Criminal Defense Attorney | Air Freshener Probable Cause for Stop

Portner & Shure Law Firm Serving Maryland, Virginia & Washington D.C.


Tree-shaped and pine scented - who would have ever thought an innocuous piece of cardboard hanging from your rear-view mirror could land you in jail? Just this week, the Virginia Court of Appeals ruled that an air freshener measuring three inches long and three inches wide established probable cause for a stop.

The dimensions of the air freshener warranted the police officer to suspect that it violated Va. Code §46.2-1054, which states that objects suspended from a vehicle's sun visor or rear view mirror may not obstruct the driver's clear view of the highway. As a result of the stop, the officer smelled marijuana from the vehicle, which led to a search of the driver, which then yielded a bag of cocaine on the driver's person. Lesson learned: Invest in vent fresheners.