State v. Vera

In State v. Vera, 196 Ariz. 342, 996 P.2d 1246 (Ariz. Ct. App. 1999), a police officer stopped an auto being operated by Vera because he observed that the windshield was cracked. There was no other reason to effect the stop. Ultimately, of course, contraband was found and Vera was appropriately charged. There was no Arizona statute that specifically prohibited the operation of a vehicle with a cracked or damaged windshield, but Arizona law did require that passenger vehicles be equipped with an "adequate windshield." Reversing the trial court's order of suppression, the Court of Appeals of Arizona held that "whether the windshield of a motorist's automobile is 'adequate' is first investigated by a police officer and next determined by a fact finder if the officer issues a citation ... ." Id. at 1247. "The officer was not required to determine the adequacy of the windshield before he stopped the automobile to investigate the obviously cracked windshield." Id. at 1247-48.