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Initial DUI Traffic Stop in Florida

Jacksonville DUI Attorney

Many times the issue of "drunk driving" is not really the true issue in a DUI case. Many cases are won or lost simply by looking at the officer's reasons for stopping your vehicle. Simply put, if the officer did not have a valid reason for stopping your car, then there is no valid charge for Driving Under the Influence. If the stop is illegal, all evidence obtained after the stop is suppressed and inadmissible in court.

To legally stop your car, the officer must rely on one of two standards that have been carved out by Florida case law. They are:

A. The officer must have a well-founded, articulable suspicion of criminal activity (that a crime is, has, or is about to occur). See Stanton v. State, 576 So.2d 925 (Fla. 1st DCA 1991); Lewis v. State, 337 So.2d 1031 (Fla. 2nd DCA 1976); Hunter v. State, 660 So.2d 244 (Fla. 1995).

If an officer intends to stop your car under this particular rule, Florida Law makes it clear that the stop cannot be based on a "hunch" or "mere suspicion" of the officer that criminal activity is occurring. There is no bright line test to determine when an officer possesses the requisite level of suspicion, but rather each case must be examined for its own merit. An experienced trial attorney knows how to depose the officers and review their reports to distinguish between the mere hunch of an officer and the level of suspicion required under Florida Law.

B. The officer has probable cause to believe that the driver of a motor vehicle has committed a traffic infraction. See Whren v. U.S., 517 U.S. 806 (1996); D.A. v. State, 10 So.3d 674 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2009).

This is the most common way that individuals get stopped by an officer. The rules that govern the roadways and patterns of driving are too numerous to list here, but most commonly people get stopped for speeding, seat belt violations, improper tag, failure to maintain a single lane, turn signal violations, window tint, etc.

If an officer believes, based on his personal observation, that you have committed a traffic infraction, Florida Law gives him every right to stop your vehicle. Although the possibilities are endless, it does not mean your case is over right then and there. Each traffic violation has its own statute and requirements for conviction. Many times these "reasons" for the stop of your vehicle do not match the circumstances on the roadway and do not correspond with witness testimony. Our attorneys have vast experience in attacking these "violations" to see if the officer truly did have probable cause to believe an infraction occurred.

If you are facing DUI charges in Florida, call Arnold Law Firm and learn about how our DUI defense can help you. Our attorneys are experts in Florida DUI laws and have helped clients from Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa and other Florida cities effectively and satisfactorily deal with their DUI charges. Contact us today!

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Arnold Law Firm

Florida address:

6279 Dupont Station Court
Jacksonville, FL 32217

Phone: 904-731-3800
Fax: 904-731-3807

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1801 Glouchester Street,
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Brunswick, GA 31520

Phone: 912-638-1121