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When Can Police Pull Me Over?

A traffic ticket is an unpleasant nuisance that many of us have received. For some of us, a traffic ticket is the inconvenient result of a decision to break the speed limit or try and beat the red light by zooming through an intersection. For others, however, a traffic stop can lead to much more dire consequences. Individuals have been stopped only to have drugs found in the vehicle, resulting in serious drug crime charges. Other serious results have occurred following a traffic stop.

So When Can the Police Stop My Car?

Stopping a car is considered a “seizure” under the Fourth Amendment and thus any traffic stop must be “reasonable.” Police need to have a “reasonable suspicion” to stop a moving car. Seeing a car commit a traffic infraction – even a minor one such as speeding or having an expired license plate – is the most common way that police officers are able to acquire reasonable suspicion and the ability to legally stop your car.

In the absence of a traffic violation, officers must have a “reasonable suspicion” that the car and/or its driver, if they are able to see the driver, has been, is committing, or is about to commit a crime in order to stop the car. This suspicion cannot be a “hunch” or “feeling,” but must instead be based on objective and articulable facts.

“I Know the Officer Stopped Me Just to Look for Drugs!”

In most cases, it does not matter if the officer stopped you so that he or she could look for evidence of another crime. That is, just because the officer stopped you for speeding does not prevent the officer from searching for evidence of other crimes (note, though, that an officer must generally have reasonable suspicion you have committed an additional crime to continue to detain you after the reason for the stop has been investigated and resolved).

A Florida Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help

What happens if you are stopped and the law enforcement officer does not have reasonable suspicion? A skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to have any evidence found and/or statements made as a result of the illegal stop suppressed, or kept out of court. This can mean facing much less serious charges (if, say, drugs were found) or having your case dismissed entirely if important evidence is unable to be introduced in court.

South Florida criminal defense attorney Jeffrey S. Weiner has years of experience helping criminal defendants in and around South Florida. He will conduct a thorough investigation of your case to determine if the police’s stop of your vehicle was lawful and will fight to ensure that unlawfully-obtained evidence (from an illegal traffic stop, for instance) is not used against you in court. No matter the severity of your crime or whether you are charged in state or federal court, contact Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A. by calling (305) 670-9919 or contacting us online to schedule your free consultation.

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