In order for a police officer to stop a vehicle that he suspects is being driven by an impaired driver, he must have a reasonable articulable suspicion to stop that driver. Fla. Stat. § 901.151(2), and Wren v. United States, 517 U.S. 806, 116 S.Ct. 1769, 135 L.Ed. 2d 89 )0996). If the officer just pulled someone over with just a “hunch” that the driver was impaired, then the U.S. Supreme Court and Florida Statutes require the DUI to be dismissed.
In Florida, it is common for an officer to justify stopping someone at night based upon the allegation that a traffic law violation occurred, such as speeding. If the officer witnessed or has information that amounts to probable cause that you committed a traffic violation, he can then stop your vehicle. If he then sees any indication that you have been drinking (odor of alcohol, B/S watery eyes, or slurred speech among others), he can then begin a DUI investigation that likely will lead to an arrest.
But how do you prove you weren’t speeding so that a Motion to Suppress based upon an unlawful stop should be granted? The Tampa Criminal Attorneys at Taracks & Associates, know that the investigation of an officer’s actions and testimony is crucial.
Using the speeding example above, we know where to gather the evidence and how to secure the testimony needed to properly contest a Speeding ticket. If a Judge finds that there was not probable cause to believe that you were speeding, then your DUI case is subject to being dismissed by the Court.
Did you know that there are 2 ways for an officer to try to prove your speed? He will either some type of Speed Measuring Device, or by “Pacing” your vehicle with his. Both ways of trying to prove how fast a car is moving, are substantially based upon the testimony of the officer.
For an officer to prove that you were speeding based upon the use of a Speed Measuring Device, he must have the following documents or training:
- The device used must be approved by DHSMV, and are listed in Rule 15B-2.013of the Fl. Admin. Code.
The officer must have completed the following courses established by the
Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission:
- An approved course for Radar Speed Measuring Device for Radar Units,
- An approved course for Laser Speed Measuring Device for Laser Units,
- An approved course for Average Speed Calculator Device including VASCAR and Kustom Tracker devices.
- There must be a visual determination that the vehicle is traveling in excess of the speed limit.
- The officer has written a citation based upon evidence from a Radar or Laser Speed measuring Device as long as weather was permitting assignment of speed to a single vehicle.
- The Radar Speed Measuring Device must have no automatic speed locks, and no audio alarms activated.
- The Radar Speed Measuring Device must have the audio doppler engaged.
- The Radar Speed Measuring Device must be tested every six months by an approved electronic technician, as well as the Radar Measuring Device must be checked at the beginning of the shift with an internal accuracy check and an external tuning fork accuracy check. These checks shall be documented on an approved Log Form.
The Laser Speed Measuring Device must be checked for accuracy and the following
must be documented into an approved Log Form:
- Display Check to verify all segment and indicators are functioning properly,
- Internal Accuracy Check according to manufacturer specifications,
- Laser Distance/Alignment Check based upon 2 known distances based upon a steal measuring tape or surveyors instrument of at least 100 feet apart. Accuracy must be measured within +1 foot.
- Slight alignment check of a target at least 200 feet away, and check both vertical and horizontal accuracy with manufacturer’s specification.
- Average Speed Calculators shall be calibrated by either ½ or ¼ mile distances, and upon the operator driving through the marked distance, the time shall be inputted into the calculator to verify accuracy with manufacturer standards.
Fla. Admin Code 15B-2.09 – 2.015.
When an officer follows a driver and “Paces” the speed of the target vehicle, he is, using his speedometer to measure the speed of the vehicle in front of him for at least 2/10’s of a mile he is supposed to keep the same distance between his vehicle and yours. For this manner of measuring speed to be upheld, the following must occur:
- The speedometer must be tested by a speedometer testing shop every 6 months after the vehicle is initially tested for speed enforcement.
- The calibration shall be done by a calibrated wheel dynamometer on the wheels driving the speedometer, and motorcycles in which the front wheel drives the speedometer, may require the use of an independently powered dynamometer. Nonetheless, if the speedometer head is not driven by the wheel measuring the speed of the vehicle, then it is not legally admissible.
- All speedometers shall read within +3mph of the actual reading tested by a repair shop registered with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services as a motor vehicle repair shop.
- The issued certificate shall be dated, signed and witnessed showing the degree of accuracy.
Fla. Admin. Code 15B-2.013.
As you can see from the above, the State of Florida must comply with a lot of rules to prove you were speeding. These are quite technical, and many of the requirements are based upon the officer’s actions, and more importantly, the officer’ testimony of how what he actually did.
To prepare to attack the officer’s testimony that your speed allowed him to stop your car, a lot of information is necessary to collect. Most of the information does not come from the prosecutor, but it comes from the police department. The steps the officer took to check your speed then comes directly from his testimony under oath.
Since depositions are not allowed in the vast majority of the DUI cases, how do the Attorneys at Taracks & Associates secure the sworn testimony needed to fight the stop of a speeding driver that forms the basis of a DUI charge? If we are hired within 10 days of your DUI arrest, we will be able to Subpoena the officer to testify at a Formal Review Hearing. At that Hearing, we will question the office while we argue to DHMSV that there is insufficient evidence to suspend your driver’s license just because you were arrested.
There is no time to delay contacting us after your arrest.
If within 10 days of your arrest, you fail to hire an attorney or to request a Formal Review, you will have lost the best opportunity to gather the sworn answers from the involved officers in how they justify the allegation of your speeding. Without the opportunity to question the officer under oath, we will have lost one of the best ways to gather facts favorable to your case. Without the opportunity to question the officer in his actions the night of your arrest, it will make be more difficult to win on a Motion to Suppress.
Please call today for your Free Consultation with one of the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Taracks & Associates, at (813) 281-2897. We will discuss the facts of your case, and what evidence we need to gather to challenge the officer’s testimony of your entire case, including testimony of the speed of your car.