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2 examples of unlawful police stops

Police need to have a valid reason to stop someone. Whether you're a driver or a pedestrian, police cannot pull you over or detain you without a viable cause of action for doing so. This cause of action could be a court-issued search or arrest warrant, or it could be a reasonable suspicion -- backed by evidence -- that you have engaged in criminal behavior.

If police perform a criminal investigation without a warrant -- or without sufficient reason to suspect you of wrongful action -- the investigation is unlawful and any resulting charges could be thrown out by a Florida court. Here are two examples of unlawful police stops:

Unlawful traffic stops

Imagine a Florida police officer doesn't like the color of your car, or the color of your skin, so the officer pulls you over. After you answer the officer's questions, he asks you to get out of the vehicle, frisks you and starts searching through the trunk of your car. That's when the officer finds a baggie of marijuana. The next thing you know, you're in handcuffs and facing marijuana possession charges in your local criminal court.

In this case, if you weren't visibly breaking any traffic laws or other laws, and if you did not appear to be driving while intoxicated, the office probably did not have a valid reason to pull you over. Furthermore, if the officer didn't see any evidence of suspected drugs in your car and you didn't have any out in full view, he had no reason to search your vehicle. In this case, your marijuana possession charges could be thrown out or dismissed.

Unreasonable suspicion

Imagine two men are looking in the window of a department store. The men haven't done anything wrong. All they've done is pointed in the window and whispered to one another. An officer starts to suspect that the men are casing out the store to commit a robbery. The officer stops them and pats them down, discovering that both men are armed with concealed firearms and neither of them have permits.

Just as in the above example, the preemptive stop and search of the men by the officer in this case was probably unlawful. Simply looking in a department store window and whispering to one another is not a sufficient cause of action to stop two men and search them, making the officers suspicion of the men unreasonable. As such, the unlawful search an seizure would probably result in the dismissal of the resulting weapons crime charges.

If you suspect that your criminal charges were born out of an unlawful police stop, you may want to shed light on this fact during your criminal defense. Many Florida defendants have used this criminal defense technique successfully during their legal proceedings.

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