Unlawful Police Stops in Jacksonville
Put 90+ Years of Experience on Your Side Today
Under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, police must have probable
cause to believe there has been a violation of the law to initiate a search.
This means that there must be some indication in your driving that you
are drunk driving or otherwise breaking the law for the police to validly
stop you. Where police have overstepped, a Jacksonville DUI lawyer will
move to exclude evidence obtained in the illegal stop. When the court
approves the motion, the prosecution usually has no choice but to dismiss the case.
What is considered probable cause?
For a law enforcement officer to make a lawful police stop, it is vitally
important that they have what is known as "probable cause."
This simply means that they must have some form of evidence that supports
the fact that the driver was breaking the law in some capacity. Contrary
to popular belief, officers are not permitted to act on whims whenever
For example, they can't park outside of bars and wait for a driver
to leave. The driver must have exhibited some form of drunkenness before
the traffic stop became legal. So what is considered grounds for a traffic
stop? Any form of traffic violation, such as speeding, or even a physical
issue with the car, such as broken lights. Other grounds for a traffic
stop could include body damage to the car, failing to use turn signals,
expired license plates or aggressive, unlawful behavior.
Sobriety Checkpoints: Exception to the Rule
As an exception to the rule, police may set up
sobriety checkpoints on holidays and special occasions to systematically stop motorists to
check for sobriety. The Florida courts have ruled these stops are a valid
use of the state power to control drunk driving. That does not mean though
that police may stop anyone, anywhere to check sobriety. It must be part
of a systemized check where many are stopped routinely. It may not be
an isolated instance where a police officer has a hunch you are drunk
driving just because you're driving a high performance vehicle or
another arbitrary reason.
Contact Us for a Free Consultation
We at Jason K.S. Porter, P.A. are strong defenders of our client's
rights when police have randomly stopped them without probable cause.
We have been serving the Jacksonville, Florida area with
DUI defense. As three former prosecuting attorneys with a collective 90 years legal
experience, we have successfully obtained many dismissals or acquittals
of charges when police have infringed on our clients' rights with
We urge you to
speak with a Jacksonville DUI attorney at the firm as soon after your arrest as possible.