Law enforcement agencies are prohibited from conducting illegal seizures of a person. This protection is guaranteed through the United States Constitution and Florida Constitution. The initial stop of your vehicle in Florida, which led to an arrest for DUI, is considered a seizure and can be challenged if done unlawfully. To conduct a lawful stop, the police must demonstrate a well-founded basis that the person has committed a traffic violation or crime. If the officer did not possess this well-founded basis to conduct the initial stop, the court will exclude evidence from use in court. Such evidence can include statements and breath alcohol test results.
The well-founded basis necessary to conduct a valid stop in a DUI case must be evidence of a traffic violation or criminal act. In DUI cases, the police will often point to driving patterns consistent with intoxicated driving as a reason for the initial stop. Driving patterns alone, such as weaving, do not provide the legal basis for stopping a vehicle. There are too many innocent explanations for weaving to reach the threshold requirement.
In DUI cases in Florida, the police may also conduct an initial stop without observing you drive. Police will sometimes base the initial stop on a tip received from another driver or witness. If the officer did not witness your driving behavior, the DUI could be dismissed for lack of a well-founded basis supporting the stop.
If you believe that the police illegally stopped your vehicle, contact our DUI attorneys immediately at 1-888-781-9696. We can start your defense today.