Unlawful / Illegal Police Stops in Tampa
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To be arrested for a DUI, a law enforcement official must pull you over only if there is probable cause to do so. It is illegal for a law enforcement official to make a police stop if they do not state a reason and it is also illegal for them to stop a vehicle on a hunch or suspicion that is not based on observable evidence.
If you were arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol then a possible defense available to you is an illegal police stop. If your Tampa DUI attorney is successful in proving the stop was unlawful, then the evidence obtained from the stop will have to be thrown out, leaving your charges with little to stand on.
There are many reasons why an officer may lawfully pulled over a motorist, including:
- Driving above or below the speed limit
- Running a red light or stop sign
- Drifting between lanes
- Mechanical failure (usually requiring a "fix it" ticket)
- Expired registration
The law enforcement official who stops you must give you a reason for doing so. If you suspect that no valid reason was given, then speak with an attorney about your case. Many police officers are too quick to assume DUI. If you were the victim of a police officer assumption, then speak with a Tampa DUI attorney at Taracks & Associates.
Police Stops and Fourth Amendment Rights
The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution states that every citizen has "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." Here, we find the necessity of probable cause in the event of a police stop. This portion of the Bill of Rights prevents individuals from being unreasonable searched (i.e. field sobriety tests).
The Constitutionality of DUI Checkpoints
The Constitutionality of sobriety checkpoints has long been debated, but they are still considered legal in the state of Florida. These checkpoints must be operated on the basis of random sampling. In a way, DUI checkpoints are much like security searches at airports. The law enforcement at the checkpoint must use a standard, objective principle to stop vehicles such as "stop every 5th vehicle." A law enforcement official cannot subjectively stop your vehicle and question you at a sobriety checkpoint.
We Can Fight Your DUI Charge!
Pleading an unlawful police stop is not the only way to get your DUI charges reduced or dismissed. With the help of a criminal defense lawyer in Tampa from our firm, you could fight to prove you are not guilty of a DUI. For example, you could contest the breath or blood DUI evidence. Not only are these tests known to have a relatively large margin of error, they must be administered properly or else the evidence is considered faulty. In other scenarios, your attorney could fight to prove that the device itself was faulty, or that particular model was known to produce erroneous results.
To learn more about the defenses available to you, please do not hesitate to contact a Tampa DUI defense lawyer at Taracks & Associates. Our firm is operated by a former prosecutor, which can be an advantage for you. The firm also has more than 30 years of experience. For a free evaluation of your case, contact us today!
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