On October 27, 2022, Governor Wolf signed HB 1486 into law, amending Section 1332 of the Vehicle Code.\u00a0 Section 1332 formerly allowed a law enforcement officer to pull a motorist over if his or her license plate was \u201cobscured in any manner.\u201d\u00a0 75 Pa.C.S.A. \u00a7 1332(b)(3).\u00a0The Superior Court recently interpreted this language and found that even a minor obstruction, like covering the state\u2019s tourism website at the bottom of a license plate, was enough to justify a traffic stop.\u00a0 Traffic stops can lead to more invasive vehicle searches and additional criminal charges.Following criticism of this statutory interpretation, the state legislature took up this issue.\u00a0 The new version of Section 1332 deems it unlawful to display a license plate which is \u201cillegible, obscured, covered or otherwise obstructed in any manner at a reasonable distance.\u201d\u00a0 75 Pa.C.S.A. \u00a7 1332(b)(3).\u00a0 The statute was also amended to make it illegal to use a tinted license plate cover.\u00a0 See 75 Pa.C.S.A. \u00a7 1332(b)(5).\u00a0 The new legislation explicitly states that the statutory language should NOT be construed to prohibit license plate frames that only minimally cover the edges of a license plate.\u00a0 See 75 Pa.C.S.A. \u00a7 1332(b.1).This amendment protects motorists from unwarranted vehicle stops and potential searches.\u00a0 Law enforcement officers must possess either reasonable suspicion or probable cause to conduct a vehicle stop.\u00a0 Traffic stops without such justification violate a motorist\u2019s constitutional rights and may lead to the suppression of evidence in a criminal case.\u00a0 If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges stemming from a vehicle stop, contact the criminal defense attorneys at Gross McGinley, LLP to learn more about your rights and potential defenses.Attorney Sara A. Moyer is a dedicated Criminal Defense and Litigation attorney at Gross McGinley and has years of experience and knowledge that she brings to all her clients’ matters.