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Safety of Vehicle; Inspection.
Swagerty v. State, 982 So.2d 19 ( Fla. 1st DCA 2008)
"Evidence that stopped vehicle had cracked windshield, without more, was insufficient to justify vehicle stop; applicable statutes authorized stop for cracked windshield only if officer reasonably believed that crack rendered vehicle in such unsafe condition as to endanger person or property."
Langello v. State, 970 So.2d 491 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2007)
"Police officer's stop of defendant's vehicle was not authorized under statute allowing vehicle stops for a vehicle that is unsafe or not equipped as required by law, where state did not show that the malfunctioning of one of the vehicle's two tag lights rendered the vehicle not equipped as required by law or unsafe."
Davison v. State, 15 So.3d 34 (Fla. 1st DCA 2009)
"the present case is distinguishable from Langello. In that case, police officers stopped the defendant's vehicle because only one of the two tag lights was operational and the officers erroneously believed that having one light out was a violation of section 316.221(2), Florida Statutes. The trial court found that “the officer's belief that there was an equipment violation because only one tag light was working was a mistake of law which did not establish probable cause to stop Langello's car.” Here, Davison was stopped by police on that night because Davison's tag light was not illuminated “at all.” Section 316.221(2), Florida Statutes, requires that “either a taillamp or separate lamp shall be ... placed as to illuminate with a white light the rear registration plate and render it clearly legible from a distance of 50 feet to the rear.” Failure to have any rear tag light visible at all constitutes a traffic violation."
State v. Schuck, 913 So.2d 69 (Fla. 4th DCA 2005)
"Police officer lawfully stopped defendant's car based on his reasonable cause to believe that taillight on defendant's vehicle was broken and not properly repaired, which was an equipment violation under statute governing vehicle safety and inspection."
Tips, Bolos, and Informants
R.J.C. v. State, 84 So. 3d 1250 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 4th Dist. 2012)
"While an anonymous tip can provide the basis for an investigatory stop, the tip must contain sufficient indicia of reliability to furnish the police with reasonable suspicion that defendant is engaged in criminal activity; such reliability is judged by (1) its specificity and (2) independent police corroboration of significant aspects of the informant's predictions."
Berry v. State, 86 So. 3d 595 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1st Dist. 2012)
"A “citizen informant,” whose tip is sufficient by itself to provide law enforcement with reasonable suspicion to conduct a Terry stop, is one who observes criminal conduct and reports it, along with his or her identity, to the police."
M.M. v. State, 72 So. 3d 328 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 4th Dist. 2011)
"When an anonymous tip prompts a police investigation, it will justify a stop as long as it can be corroborated; this requires the officers to observe unlawful acts, unusual conduct, or suspicious behavior when they arrive on scene."
No Reasonable Suspicion to Justify Stop
State v. Parra, 14 Fla. Weekly 986a (17th Judicial Circuit in and for Broward County, 2007)
"The defendant “jerked left twice- breaking the lane- then drifting from the inner most lane into the emergency lane and back … in addition to traveling slower that the normal flow of traffic”. The court found that in determining whether law enforcement had probable cause to effectuate a stop, more is required than mere departure from the lane of traffic, but rather that the driver’s conduct created a reasonable safety concern by interfering or endangering other traffic."
The case law on reasonable suspicion of impairment stops is factually driven, and cases in which stops have been upheld are based on myriad different patterns of driving behavior. However, one thing that they all seem to have in common is that the driving pattern must be “erratic and the driving behavior created a reasonable safety concern by interfering or endangering other traffic.”
Exception: Where the citation that is issued to the defendant, does not require that the defendant's driving pattern create a reasonable safety concern for others.
Nicholas v. State, 857 So.2d 980 (Fla. 4th DCA 2003)
"The Court noted that the officer’s observation that Nicholas made a turn, without signaling and from the wrong lane, did not constitute an erratic driving pattern, because it did not endanger other traffic and the officer did not observe Nicholas for an extended period of time."
Donaldson v. State, 803 So.2d 856 (Fla. 4th DCA 2002)
"The defendant squealed his ties while pulling out of a parking lot. The court reasoned that the officer did not observe any erratic driving over a period of time and at the time there were no other cars on the road or in the parking lot that would have been endangered by Appellant squealing his tires. Thus, the court held that there was no evidence that Appellant drove in a sufficiently unsafe manner to validate a DUI stop."
Hurd v. State, 958 So.2d 600 (Fla. DCA 2007)
The Officer drove behind the defendant's vehicle and noticed the driver looking in his mirror and kind of driving slow. The driver would speed up, then drive slow. The Officer followed the vehicle for approximately two miles. When the vehicle approached an intersection, it was in the far left-hand lane and without warning crossed over a solid white line into the right lane and did not use a turn signal. The court held, that "under an objective standard, appellant's driving, while not perfect, was not sufficiently erratic, in light of the caselaw, to give rise to a reasonable suspicion of impairment. Where a motorist is stopped for an alleged traffic code violation that subsequently proves not to be a violation of any traffic law, or where there was not probable cause of a traffic infraction. In other words, "defendant's failure to signal a lane change and failure to drive within clearly marked lanes did not provide probable cause for a traffic stop."
Shadler v. State, 761 So. 2d 279 (Fla. 2000)
2) In Shadler v. State, 761 So. 2d 279 (2000), the officer stopped the defendant based on information that the defendant’s license was suspended. At the stop, the officer performed a computerized check through the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, Division of Driver Licenses, which confirmed that the defendant’s license had been suspended. In fact, however, the defendant’s license should not have been suspended and the misinformation relied upon by the officer was due to a computer error by the Department of Highway Safety’s Division of Driver Licenses, and their failure to keep accurate and current records. The Court reasoned that unlike in Arizona v. Evans, 514 U.S. 1 (1995), where the court found the exclusionary rule, did not apply when the error is committed by court personnel, because they are not adjuncts to the law enforcement team.
Ariz. v. Evans, 514 U.S. 1 (U.S. 1995)
"The issue was whether evidence seized in violation of U.S. Const. amend. IV by an officer who acted in reliance on an erroneous police record due to a clerical error made by court personnel, must be suppressed by virtue of the exclusionary rule regardless of the source of the error. The Court applied Leon and reversed the suppression order notwithstanding erroneous information due to court clerical error because there was no evidence the arresting officer was not acting objectively reasonably and application of Leon supported a categorical exception to the exclusionary rule for clerical errors committed by court employees."
Reasonable Suspicion Present to Justify Stop
Yanes v. State, 877 So.2d 25 (Fla. 5th DCA 2004)
"Appellant crossed a fog line with half of the width of his vehicle three times in a mile, for no apparent reason. The court held, "that officer had reasonable suspicion for traffic stop, even in the absence of a traffic violation, where driver crossed fog line three times, regardless of whether driver endangered anyone in doing so."
State v. Davidson, 744 So.2d 1180 (Fla. 2nd DCA 1999)
"Appellee was driving between 40 mph and 48 mph in a posted 70 mph zone on I-75 and continually drifted across a line and then “jerked” his car back in the opposite direction in a “corrective” manner. The court reasoned, "the courts of this state have recognized that a legitimate concern for the safety of the motoring public can warrant a brief investigatory stop to determine whether a driver is ill, tired, or driving under the influence in situations less suspicious than that required for other types of criminal behavior. the officer's observations of the defendant's driving provided him with the founded suspicion necessary to conduct a stop. thus, the stop was upheld because people do not “normally drive” in the manner in which Appellee was driving."
DHSMV v. DeShong, 603 So.2d 1349 (Fla. 2nd DCA)
"the Court noted that DeShong’s driving pattern was 'erratic' in that he swerved, 'using lane markers to position his vehicle,' and 'abruptly slowed from 55 to 30 miles per hour and then accelerated rapidly.' Quoting the Florida Supreme Court in, Bailey v. State, 319 So.2d 22 (Fla.1975), the stop was upheld as reasonable, “[b]ecause of the dangers inherent to our vehicular mode of life, there may be justification for the stopping of a vehicle by a patrolman to determine the reason for its unusual operation.”
Delvalle v. Smith, 2012 WL 2222207 (S.D. Fla. June 14, 2012)
The Officer observed Plaintiff's vehicle “swerving within it[s] own lane and on three separate occasions crossing over the solid white line into the bicycle lane.” The court distinguishes from Hurd v. State, 958 So.2d 600 (Fla.Dist.Ct.App.2007) because unlike in Hurd, which was issued citations for violation of Florida Statutes §§ 316.155 and 316.089, the officer in the present case issued a citation for violation of Fla. Stat. § 316.074(1) and nothing in this statute unlike Florida Statutes §§ 316.155 and 316.089 requires that the driver's behavior create a safety concern.
Petrel v. State, 675 So.2d 1049, 1050 (Fla. 4th DCA 1996)
"Under Fourth Amendment, officer's reasons for stop are immaterial and stop is reasonable when officer has probable cause to believe that traffic violation occurred; test is whether an officer could have stopped the vehicle for a traffic infraction.
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