Police Officers only need probable cause for even the most minor of traffic infractions in order to legally pull a vehicle over. Here is a list of the 7 most common and easily avoidable excuses that law enforcement officers use in Iowa to "justify" pulling a vehicle over.
1. License Plate Frame: If ANY letter or number on the license is obscured by a license plate frame, it is an arguable traffic violation. Take the frames off!
2. Registration Sticker: There should only be ONE registration sticker visible on a license plate (the most current). It must be placed in the bottom left hand corner and must be clearly visible. If you have multiple registrations stickers visible, take them off!
3. License Plate Cover: Iowa law prohibits license plate covers that make a license plate difficult to read. While they may save you a picture-ticket, law enforcement is known to claim that they obscure visibility of the license plate, especially at night, do to the glare. If it gets to a hearing it's the officers words vs. yours and we all know how that turns out. Take them off!
4. Non-Functioning Lights: All lights originally manufactured on a vehicle must be in proper working order. The most common light to go out that people don't realize is the license plate light. Check all lights and signals frequently and make sure they are in proper working order.
5. Dirty License Plate: Iowa law requires license plates to be free of dirt and debris and clearly legible. Gravel travel recently? Take a little extra time to clean your license plate off and avoid an unpleasant interaction with local law enforcement.
6. Obstructed View: Iowa State Patrol Officers are notorious for stopping vehicles with items hanging from their rear-view mirrors claiming that it "obstructs the view" of the road. While each case is factually dependent, and often times these stops are a mere pretext and can be challenged, do you really need to dangle your rosary from the rear-view mirror or is there another place it can be safely displayed? Sometimes it's better safe than sorry.
7. No Front License Plate: Iowa law requires a front license plate to be affixed to all vehicles licensed in this state. There in no exception for your Corvette or other vehicle that you just don't want to put one on because it ruins the look. Order the bracket and put your front plate on.
A quick walk around of your vehicle might easily prevent an unpleasant meeting with "Iowa's Finest" in the near future. Know your rights; Exercise your rights; Preserve your freedom!