traffic stop

The Number One Requirement For A Valid Traffic Stop

If you have ever been driving over the speed limit, and had a police cruiser pull up behind you, your first instinct is to tap the brakes to slow your speed. If you are successful, you might avoid being pulled over and being written a speeding ticket. But, if not, you run the risk of receiving a citation if the officer decides to have you pull to the side of the road. If you have been drinking, things can quickly escalate, and you can be arrested and charged with DUI. Neither of these seem like fun, and both can cost you your time and money.

But unlike a routine traffic stop, a DUI requires something more than being paced by a police officer, or having a radar read out of your speed. In order to be charged with DUI during a traffic stop, the stop itself must be valid. The number one requirement for a valid traffic stop is that the officer have reasonable suspicion to make the stop. Without being able to articulate a reasonable ground for having pulled you over, the traffic stop itself can be considered invalid. If that is the case, anything that transpired thereafter is subject to attack. Some of the ways an officer can establish reasonable suspicion include:

  • Verbal testimony of your speed or other driving pattern, such as weaving in and out of traffic to changing lanes without signaling.
  • Claiming you failed to obey a traffic signal or sign, such as by running a red light or rolling through a stop sign.
  • Driving too slowly can also be cause to pull you over, and depending on what the officer observes during the stop, there may be reason to question you about your activities prior to taking the wheel.

If you have been pulled over for a traffic violation, and during that stop were arrested for DUI, call us for help. Our team of DUI attorneys knows what to expect from the police when they are trying to establish cause for the stop. We also know what to look for when developing a defense to a DUI charge, whether it be by attacking the breath test results or by challenging other aspects of the arrest. We have helped others handle their traffic and DUI cases, and can help you too.

If you have questions about DUI defense, call our office for answers. Call an experienced criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast. Your first visit is a free initial consultation.

Five Things You Should Do If You Are Pulled Over

Any time the red and blue lights of a police patrol car come into focus in your rearview mirror, you might be inclined to panic. Getting pulled over for a traffic violation is not only inconvenient; it can lead to harmful consequences as far as your ability to drive is concerned. Depending on the type of citation you receive, the punishment can include imprisonment and loss of your driver’s license. With a DUI you might also face other punishments or be made to participate in certain educational courses in order to resolve the case against you.

One of the scariest thoughts that might run through your mind if you are getting pulled over and have been drinking is that you could be arrested for DUI. In any traffic stop, but especially if there is a chance you might be asked to submit to a field sobriety test it is helpful to know how to act. Here are five things to keep in mind if you are pulled over and think it is possible the officer will question you about whether you have been drinking:

  • Remain calm and answer the officer’s questions politely.
  • Do not offer any information other than what was asked of you, the more you say the more chances you give law enforcement to dig further and ask more questions.
  • Do not make any sudden moves, and if you have to reach into your purse or behind you in the back seat make sure the officer knows your intentions.
  • Do not give permission to have your car searched, because doing so will mean that anything found is fair game and can be used against you.
  • If you pass the field sobriety test and are permitted to go on your way, take a moment before you pull back out into traffic, letting the officer go ahead of you if possible. This will not only give you a chance to gather yourself, but will also allow the officer to proceed in front of you and keep you out of his or her line of sight.

A DUI is a serious charge with serious consequences. If you are charged with DUI you will have to defend your right to drive as well as the criminal charges against you. Many cases can be resolved by agreeing to certain terms, but these can be inconvenient or impose a hardship on you or your family. For help limiting the impact DUI has, call our office today.

If you have questions about DUI defense, call our office to learn your options. Schedule an appointment with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast. Your first visit is a free initial consultation.

 

Between 5 And 10, Or More? How Long Should A Traffic Stop Last?

Any time you are pulled over for a traffic violation you should expect to be sitting in your car for a while. If you have been speeding this will seem like an inconvenience, especially if you were driving over the limit because you were already running late to your destination. No one enjoys sitting in their car while the police officer runs your plates and/or license to check your record and the situation can escalate if you are asked to step out of your vehicle. The longer you are detained the longer the police have to come up with a reason for the stop and to issue you a citation.

Whether you are being pulled over for DUI, speeding, or some other traffic offense the general rule is that the police cannot hold you longer than is reasonable. The problem is that the definition of reasonable changes from case to case. Here are some common types of stops and a quick overview of what to expect:

  • DUI: if you are pulled over on suspicion of drinking and driving you can expect to take a field sobriety test and/or asked to blow into a breathalyzer. This can take a while, and if the results are positive you can be arrested for DUI. Upon arrest your license will be taken from you and your car might be impounded. In order to get your license back and get your car out of the impound lot you have to act fast. You only have ten days after the arrest to seek a review of the license revocation and the longer you let your car sit at the lot the more you will have to pay to get it out.
  • Speeding: if you are pulled over for speeding the wait time to be on your way is less than with a DUI or at an accident. That said you should still expect to spend some time answering questions and providing your license and registration/insurance information. What you should not expect is to have your car searched, but this might depend on your demeanor and whether there are things present that lead the police to believe another crime has been committed. For instance, if your eyes are bloodshot or there are odors of substances coming from your car the police will believe they have reasonable cause to hold you long enough to search your car.
  • Reckless driving: this type of stop usually involves other violations such as drinking and driving or speeding. The length of time you might be detained for a reckless driving charge will depend on whether the authorities have other suspicions and perform a search of your vehicle or ask you to submit to a breath test.

Any type of traffic stop will cause you to have to wait before you are either arrested or told you can be on your way. The key is to answer the police officer’s questions honestly, without elaboration. If you are facing any type of traffic charge or DUI call us for help. We have experience in all sorts of traffic related matters and will aggressively pursue every legal remedy available in your case.

For help with criminal defense, call a competent criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast for help. We offer representation for a wide range of offenses, call us to schedule an appointment.

 

Top Three Lessons Learned From The Sandra Bland Traffic Stop

When you see the flashing red and blue lights of a police car in your rearview mirror, your heart can sink to your stomach. The anxiety you feel when being pulled over can easily take hold, and cause a complex combination of emotions. No one likes to get a ticket, and no one likes to answer a police officer’s probing questions. If you do get pulled over though, try to remain calm and remember that you have rights. Keeping a level head will help prevent a situation from escalating and ending with disaster. No one knows this better than the family of Sandra Bland, from Texas, and her stop and resulting arrest and death are things we can all learn from for the future.

The video of the stop sheds light on some very important criminal law issues that everyone should know. The top three things to be learned from the Sandra Bland stop include:

  • You do not have to get out of your car when asked to do so by the officer. Unless the officer also articulates a reason for the request that you exit your vehicle, you are not obligated to get out of the car. Keep in mind that refusing to do so may cause an escalation of tensions, and this may result in a confrontation.
  • You are not obligated to answer any of the officer’s questions other than to identify yourself. You have the right to state that you will only answer questions in the presence of an attorney. Again, taking this approach may cause an otherwise calm situation to turn hectic, so proceed with caution.
  • If you are placed under arrest you have the right to be told why you are being arrested.

The way in which you react to being pulled over can set the tone for your entire case. But this does not mean that you have to roll over and give in to every request made by the police. A criminal defendant has rights, and every one of us is entitled to enforce our rights. The type of crime for which you are being stopped may play a part in how you behave during a stop, and should also dictate the officer’s behavior. Unfortunately this is not always the way things go, as the case of Sandra Bland so painfully illustrates. If you have been arrested for a traffic related crime, or received what seems like a harmless traffic ticket, call our office for help.

If you have questions about criminal cases, call our office for answers. Call an experienced criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast. Your first visit is a free initial consultation.

Caught Driving Too Fast ! Four Things To Do Next?

Police officers patrol the street in order to keep the peace and maintain the safety of our roads and neighborhoods. Part of doing this job includes pulling people over for traffic violations. A violation can be anything from speeding to reckless driving to driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you are pulled over the next things that happen might depend on your behavior. Certainly cooperation is better than trying to outsmart or outwit the authorities, but even so you can be ticketed if the circumstances warrant. The problem is that it is the officer, not the driver, that makes the determination as to whether a citation is issued. If you have received a ticket, even one that seems minor, call a skilled criminal defense attorney to protect your rights.

Some tips on how to act during a traffic stop include:

● Safely pull to the side of the road and turn off your engine.

● Remain calm, and be polite.

● Do not exit the vehicle unless asked to do so.

● Ask questions if you are unclear as to why you were stopped.

A traffic ticket can have harmful effects on your right to drive. Your driving record will accumulate points, and if you get too many points you can lose your license. You will also have to pay a hefty fine, and face increased rates of insurance. Fighting a ticket helps to keep points off your record, which in turn will help you maintain lower costs to drive. Call us today, and speak with one of our traffic attorneys for more helpful information and tips.

 

If you have questions about what to do about a traffic ticket, call our office for answers. Contact us today schedule an appointment with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast. The first visit is a free initial consultation.

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