Traffic Stop Uncovered Stolen Handbags and Electronics from Burglary

Charges Dropped!

The Charges

Officers pulled a vehicle over for suspicious driving. Officers arrested one of the passengers for refusing to provide identification. A search of the vehicle located suspected stolen handbags and electronics. Our client did not provide a statement, but the other passengers claimed the items were stolen earlier in the day. Officers arrested our client and charged him with dealing with stolen property.

Notice of Appearance

A notice of appearance is a legal written document that is filed with the court to notify them and other parties involved that another party wishes for them to appear in court.  It can also be a verbal or written notice from an attorney that notifies the court that they are representing a party. The document typically only has one or two sentences. The statements are simple and to the point:  “Come now attorney (full name of the attorney hired) of (Law Firm’s name), and hereby enters his appearance on behalf of (defendant’s name)”.

The main purpose of a notice of appearance is to let the courts know that the defendant has legal representation and all future correspondence should be sent to the attorney instead of the defendant. 

Probable Cause For Initiating a Traffic Stop

Under Florida law, law enforcement must have probable cause to initiate a traffic stop.  

Florida law also states the law enforcement may search the vehicle once the traffic stop has been made.  It is legal to search without a warrant as long as a probable cause has been established. The car may also be searched if someone in the vehicle has been arrested, with the search of the car being an “incident to the arrest”.

Dealing With Law Enforcement in a Traffic Stop

When stopped for a traffic stop, the best thing to do is have all the information the officer will need ready.  This will include your driver’s license, as well as insurance information. It is best to have them in your hand, ready for the officer when he gets to your window.  If not, and you are frantically searching, the officer may believe you to be impaired. To avoid having to search for this information, keep it in the same place so you can easily reach over and get it.

If an officer does ask for permission to search your car, only the driver of the vehicle can give permission.  You do have every right to deny his this. Most individuals think that if an officer asks, they have to say yes or he will be able to perform the search anyway.  If there is not any probable cause, and you say no, the law enforcement can not force you to consent, and he must let you be on your way after any tickets are issued for the original stop.

RESULT: The defense immediately filed a notice of appearance and argued that the officers lacked probable cause to initiate a traffic stop. The State agreed and dropped all of the charges.

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