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Seat Belts Tickets: Officer Observation and Testimony is Enough

by Seth Azria on 1/02/2024

To be pulled over, it is enough for a police officer to observe the driver or passenger not wearing a seat belt. People v. Smith, 158 A.D.3d 1081 (4th Dep't 2018).

To be convicted of the seat belt charge, it is enough for the officer to testify that he saw the driver or passenger fail to wear a seat belt. Of, course the driver will testify that he was wearing a seat belt. This creates and issue of credibility for the judge to decide. In Whitten the judge decided in officer’s favor and convicted the driver. Whitten v. Martinez, 24 A.D.3d 285 (1st Dep't 2005).

However, a person wearing belt, under the arm rather than over the shoulder is "restrained" and therefore permissible within the meaning of the law. People v. Locke, 1 Misc. 3d 482, 765 N.Y.S.2d 468 (City Ct. 2003).

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