For a police officer to stop you on suspicion of DUI, they must have probable cause. Without probable cause, drunk driving charges may be overturned in court. An experienced Orlando unlawful police stop attorney from Ali & Blankner can look for illegitimate police stops in order to challenge your DUI arrest.
If you believe this has happened to you, our firm can work to prove that your traffic stop was unwarranted and fight to have your case dismissed. With more than 85 years of combined experience and well over 100,000 cases handled, our team has what it takes to aggressively fight for you, your rights, and your future.
The genuine care and concern Mr. Ali showed us during a difficult time were very much appreciated. It has been a long journey, however, Mr. Ali and the team at Ali & Blankner have been there with us each step along the way.T.M.
When Is a Police Stop Unlawful?
Police officers have an important role in our justice system, and we rely on them to keep our communities safe. They are taught to follow the rules and treat the public fairly. However, knowing your rights can not only help you but also help law enforcement, as well.
Unlawful police stops in Florida are generally illegal. You are protected under your Fourth Amendment rights, which make random car searches by law enforcement illegal. If you have been stopped by a police officer who searched your car without your permission or without giving you a valid reason, your constitutional rights may have been violated. An officer must have a plausible reason for searching your car, such as a DUI.
When Can a Police Officer Search a Vehicle?
This does not mean that an officer of the law is not allowed to search your car any time you do not consent to a search. Under the Fourth Amendment, the police are given a little more flexibility to search a vehicle according to what is known as the “automobile exception,” when in relation to the search warrant requirement. Privacy in a car has a lower expectation while driving, and this exception for the warrant is grounded on safety concerns for the public.
Under the following situations, a law enforcement officer is allowed to search your vehicle if:
- You have given permission
- There is probable cause for the officer to search, such as evidence of a crime
- The police have a valid search warrant
- There is a belief that a search is essential to their own safety (such as a hidden weapon)
- The stop ends in an arrest and the search is related (looking for illegal drugs for example)
It is important to know your rights when being stopped by the police. If law enforcement asks for permission to search your car, you may decline or remain silent if there is no search warrant presented to you at the time of the stop. Even if you are not sure whether or not you have a right to refuse, thinking you are cooperating or have no choice in the matter may unintentionally waive your Fourth Amendment rights. If for any reason your vehicle is searched without your permission, remain calm and do not argue with the cop. The best advice is to remain silent. With the “exclusionary rule,” obtaining evidence illegally (without permission) cannot be held in court against you.
Trust Your DUI Defense to Ali & Blankner
If you believe your rights were violated by a police officer who conducted an unlawful stop, leading to you being arrested for and/or charged with DUI or another crime, contact Ali & Blankner right away. Our attorneys have extensive experience and a comprehensive understanding of Florida’s DUI and traffic stop laws. We can fight your charges and work to protect you from the severe consequences of a DUI conviction.
Don't leave your defense to chance! Get in touch with our criminal defense team right away to get started on your defense strategy. We provide free initial consultations, as well as several payment plans. Our bilingual attorneys and staff can assist you in both English and Spanish.
When probable cause comes into play, the officer has the legal authority to conduct a search. This exists when there is reason for an officer to believe a crime is or has been committed. For example, if your car matches a description of another vehicle used in a crime, such as a robbery or shooting, or perhaps if illegal drugs are suspected due to bloodshot eyes or because a glass pipe with drug residue is visible from the officer’s view, the officer may conduct a search based on probable cause. Evidence that is left in plain view can establish probable cause.
Probable cause also plays a role in DUI stops and arrests. In order for a police officer to pull you over for DUI, they need to have observed you exhibiting drunk driving behavior or committing a traffic violation.
The following can give an officer probable cause for DUI:
- Erratic braking
- Driving without headlights in the dark
- Ignoring a stop sign or traffic light
- Driving too slowly
- Various traffic violations
If a police officer stopped you for no real reason, they may have violated your rights. A skilled Orlando unlawful police stop attorney from Ali & Blankner can work to have your case thrown out if an officer didn't follow proper protocol in your DUI arrest. Call us at (407) 753-1312 to learn more.
What Should You Do If You Are Pulled Over?
Many people get nervous when an officer pulls them over, even if they have not committed a crime.
If you have had any amount of alcohol and have been pulled over, here is some advice to avoid an arrest:
- Do your best to have relevant documents, such as your driver’s license and vehicle registration, close at hand to present to the officer.
- Turn on your interior lighting and place your hands on the steering wheel as the officer approaches to make them feel more at ease.
- Be courteous to the officer but admit to nothing, as any admission can and will be used against you in court.
- Remember, the officer is free to look in your vehicle but only from the exterior; do not voluntarily consent to a search of your vehicle.
- If the officer proceeds with a breathalyzer test, do not refuse since it is unlawful to do so. If your blood alcohol registers at under 0.08%, you should be free to leave.
If you are arrested after being pulled over, whether for DUI or any other traffic or criminal offense, you should contact a lawyer immediately. The sooner you reach out to our team at Ali & Blankner, the sooner we can begin building a powerful defense on your behalf.
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