Under the 4 th Amendment you are protected from illegal searches and seizures. This means, among other things, that a police officer cannot stop your vehicle unless they have "founded suspicion of criminal activity" or have probable cause you have committed a traffic violation.
There must be probable cause that you committed a traffic infraction or reasonable suspicion that you have broken the law, such as by driving under the influence, in order for a law enforcement officer to be able to stop your vehicle.
For instance, if you were driving safely and obeying all traffic laws but a police officer pulled you over because they observed you leaving a bar, the stop could be determined to be unlawful.
Examples of probable cause that could provide an officer with a reason to pull you over include:
- Driving excessively fast or slow
- Running a red light or stop sign
- Drifting between lanes
- Expired registration
- Failing to turn your lights on
- Getting involved in an accident
Upon stopping you, the police officer will usually explain to you their reason for doing so. If you believe that the officer did not have sufficient cause to stop your vehicle, don't wait to discuss your case with a knowledgeable defense attorney in Tampa.
Unlawful Stops in DUI Cases
In order for DUI charges to stand up in court, the arresting officer must have adhered to all standards and regulations during the incident. Regardless of the results of your chemical test or field sobriety test, if the officer did not have reasonable cause to pull you over in the first place, your lawyer may be able to file a motion to suppress any evidence collected from the stop. If granted, the motion could lead to your charges being reduced or dropped altogether.
If you are facing DUI charges in Hillsborough or Pinellas County, don't make any decisions about your case until you speak to the experienced defense attorney at The Law Office of Timothy Hessinger. Attorney Hessinger worked as a state prosecutor for 15 years, and this experience helps him build comprehensive and effective defenses for his clients.
Schedule a free initial consultation to learn if your rights were violated during an unlawful police stop and to find out how Attorney Hessinger can fight your DUI charges!