Pre-textual Police Stops




Pre-Textual Police Stops

Ft. Lauderdale criminal defense attorney

A pre-textual police stop occurs when a police officer stops a person on the pre-text of investigating one criminal violation while attempting to gather evidence about something else altogether.  For example, an officer may see a person riding on a bicycle and think that the person looks like the type of person who uses drugs and want to search them.  A person's Constitutionally guaranteed rights under the 4th Amendement would prohibit stopping a person and searching them just because they "look suspicious".  To get around this, the police will stop the person for committing an infraction such as operating a bicycle without a  headlight and then try to obtain consent to search the "suspicious person".  For drivers, the officers will often look for some sort of an equipment violation such as dark window tint in order to justify pulling over a driver so that they can investigate drug or other suspected criminal activity.  This practice has been condemned by the Supreme Court of Florida, however many officers still engage in this type of activity on a regular basis.  Criminal lawyer Antonio D. Quinn, Esq. is knowledgeable and experienced in dealing with pre-textual stop issues.  Contact Quinn Law, PA today for a case evaluation if you feel that you may have been the victim of a pre-textual stop which led to your arrest.

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Aggressive criminal defense for victims of improper police conduct

In determining whether a pre-textual stop has occurred, Florida courts will look to whether a "reasonable officer" would have stopped the person for the violation absent some additional purpose.  For example, if the bicyclist was causing a hazard on the roadway then it would be difficult to show that a stop was pre-textual. 

What many people are not aware of is that is that if a police officer stops a person for suspicion of committing a civil infraction or for violating a municipal ordinance, then they are only permitted to detain the person long enough to write a ticket or issue a citation.  In Florida a full custodial arrest is not permitted for a violation of a municipal ordinance or civil infraction.

In most circumstances, if there is no probable cause for a search then the only way that it is permissible is if a person gives consent for the search.  The police frequently prey on people's ignorance to this law and will often use intimidation in order to get a person to consent to a search that they otherwise would not have consented to.  DO NOT EVER CONSENT TO A SEARCH OF YOUR HOME, PERSON, VEHICLE OR BELONGINGS.  If the police have a valid legal basis to search you then they will not ask for your consent because it is not required, however if the police DO ask a person for their consent prior to conducting a search, then that is often an indicator that the officer knows that the search would be impermissible absent consent, so do not give it to them.  Always be respectful and cooperative when dealing with law enforcement, but never consent to a search and if you do get arrested, contact Quinn Law, P.A. at (954) 463-0440 right away for an evaluation of the circumstances which led to your arrest.


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