The police in Virginia need to suspect you of a primary traffic infraction to stop you on a public road. Pulling someone over is a major inconvenience and will affect their schedule, possibly even their employment. Police officers need to have a legal justification to put them in that position.
Turning or merging without using a signal first, exceeding the speed limit or driving in an aggressive and unsafe manner are all reasons why a police officer in Virginia might pull you over and potentially issue a citation. They can also pull you over if they believe you may have played a role in a recent crime, possibly based on the make and model of your vehicle.
Now police officers have another reason to pull you over even when you don’t do anything obviously illegal at the wheel.
Loud exhaust systems can lead to a traffic stop
Virginia state statutes actually impose specific limits on how much noise a vehicle can create. If your vehicle weighs less than 6,500, which is true of most passenger vehicles, it cannot produce noise over 85 decibels without putting you at risk of a citation.
Police officers who suspect that your vehicle is not compliant with the statute can stop you even if you have obeyed all other traffic laws to the best of your ability. Once they pull you over, they may fish for an excuse to search your vehicle and otherwise inconvenience you.
You need to know your rights when dealing with the police
Any interaction with law enforcement can potentially lead to criminal charges, even if you consider yourself a respectable, law-abiding citizen. It is best to be respectful but to also be aware of your rights.
When you know your rights, you can make use of them during any interaction that you have with the police. For example, if a police officer asks for permission, you don’t have to grant them your consent to search your vehicle. You also have the right to inquire as to the reason for the traffic stop to validate that the officer had the appropriate justification for pulling you over in the first place.
Keeping informed about changing rules in Virginia will help you minimize the risk of criminal charges after an unexpected interaction with the police.