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Lawful/Unlawful Vehicle Stops in Florida

If a driver behaves suspiciously during a traffic stop consent to police search of their vehicle if police have a reasonable belief that the driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If a traffic stop is made by a police officer on a driver who does not appear intoxicated while driving, but upon further inspection during the traffic stop it appears that the driver may be intoxicated, the police officer may perform further tests in the effort of revealing the blood-alcohol-content of the driver. If the police officer suspects a driver of traffic violation, the police officer is entitled to detain the driver for a period of time. Police are not entitled to search a car during a traffic stop without a warrant or the driver’s consent. If the driver specifically says, “no” to the police officers request to search the car, then the police officer is not entitled to search the car. If police are able to view illegal contraband in the car at the time of the traffic stop, this negates the need for a warrant or the driver’s consent and entitles the police officer to search the car. If the police officer searches the car without the driver’s permission, without a warrant and without first viewing illegal contraband in “plain sight” in the car, the search is illegal and anything found during the search will not be used against the driver or any other person in the car at the time of the search. The police officer can at any time stop a car if the police officer believes under reasonable suspicion that a traffic violation is occurring. A police officer is entitled to pull a car over on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol if the driver is swerving while driving or if the police officer observes or here’s reports of other behavior that would bring suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The most common reasons for pulling someone over for driving under the influence suspicion is that the person is weaving on the road, is purportedly asleep at the wheel, is driving the car exceedingly faster than the posted speed limit or drives the car through a stop sign and/or red light. The officer must here the report from another officer (referred to as the fellow officer rule). The officer cannot pull over a driver based on information reported from a civilian.


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