Florida Traffic Stop - Long Ver.


InvalidUserName

New member
The incident I am about to describe took place on the afternoon of 23DEC08. I am looking for facts and pertinent information only – please do not include “This is what I would have done” type scenarios. Please note, that the charges are pending litigation and that I maintain my innocence. Note, that I hold a valid Florida permit, but am a resident of the Maryland.

On 23DEC08 I was pulled over by a Florida(County) police car. I pulled into a parking lot, turned off my car, and placed my hands on the wheel. One of the officers, there was two of them, walked up to my passenger’s side window and asked for my license, registration, and proof of insurance, which I handed him. He then asked me who the car belonged to. The car was my fathers and I am the Third, which is clearly marked on my license, but I was polite when I pointed out the obvious to the officer.

He then asked me if I knew why I was pulled over. I responded with “Why did*(emphasis added) you pull me over officer?” He then stated that I ran a stop sign and was speeding. He asked me how fast I was going, to which I responded “How fast do you believe I was going officer.” This agitated the officer and we went back and forth with the same question and answer. He then in an irate tone stated “You don’t answer a question with a question and all you have to say is I don’t know.” The officer then asked me if I was LEO or a lawyer, to which I responded “No.” He told me to sit tight and that he would be right back.

While the first officer was running my information a second officer approached the driver’s side window leaned into my car and sniffed. He then stepped back and asked me to step out of the vehicle. He walked to the rear of my car and waited. With my permit in hand I informed the officer that I have a valid permit, that I was carrying and that my firearm was at the small of my back. He said to keep my hands where he could see them. I handed him my permit after which he asked me to put my hands on the back of the car. I complied, but insisted that I do not consent to any searches. He searched me, including grabbing and manipulating the objects in my pockets(outside only), then disarmed me. I did not feel safe at this point because of the actions and agitated demeanor of the officers, so I asked for a supervisor – I was denied. I then had my passenger call 911. I asked the officer why he pulled me out of the car and was told that he detected the odor of a fruity substance that could possibly be alcohol.

When the supervisor arrived, the second officer walked up to him and they began talking. The supervisor then walked over to me to ask why he had been summoned. I told him that I didn’t feel safe and that the officers where acting in an unprofessional manner (making false accusations traffic/alcohol). The supervisor then tried to play the same speeding question game as the first officer and I responded with the same answer. I then asked for the chain of events that led up to me being taken out of the car. He walked over to the other officers then walked back over to me and stated that one of the officers had seen my firearm. This was not possible because the first officer would have to have x-ray vision to see through my passenger, my shirt, and the seat I was sitting in. I informed the supervisor of this and he looked stunned and walked back to the other officer’s car. He then came back with the story about the fruity substance. I laughed and asked him if he actually thought that would hold up in court; he again looked stunned. The second officer then came over and asked my for my SSN because their system could not locate my permit. I provided the information under duress.

It was around this point that the first officer returned with my tickets. I signed them and asked for my firearm back. I was told no, they would not hand it back to me. I held my ground. I felt like my property had been stolen at this point and didn’t know what to do. I again demanded my firearm back and was told that they would place the firearm in my backseat and the bullets in the trunk. I told them that this was unacceptable. After several attempts, and again under duress, was forced to let them put it in – which was the equivalent of consenting to a search, but I felt I had no choice. This was the end of the encounter.

Note that they never followed up on this suspicious “fruity smell that could have been alcohol."

I was pulled over for “crimes” that I did not commit, was disarmed, searched, and was forced to consent to a search in order to get back property that was rightfully mine.

I have sorted through tons of Florida codes and case law and found nothing supports disarming someone during a traffic stop or any code that supports the conditional return of seized property.

Thoughts?
 

Last edited:

FN1910

New member
Facts: You claim that you were pulled over for crimes you did not commit. That will be determined in court. The officers pulled you over supposedly for speeding and running a traffic sign, that is a fact but your actual guilt is still to be determined.

Fact: You refused to answer their question but rather gave smart alec answers which indicated that you were an uncooperative suspect raising their alert level. He asked if you knew why he pulled you over. Rather then either saying "no" or just refusing to answer you chose to get into a verbal confrontation with the officer.

Since you were being confrontational the officers chose to raise their alert level and handle you as more than a normal traffic violation suspect. Your choice of answers to his questions were completely wrong. They may not have handled it well but neither did you.
 

InvalidUserName

New member
FN1910,

Thank you for the response. I do know now that remaining silent is always the best course of action, but can you please elaborate on how asserting my innocence through my choice of questions and trying to obtain relevant facts at the scene can be misconstrued as a “smart alec” answer/response?
 

Glockster20

Clinging to God and guns
Simple "yes sir" and "no sir" answers are typically all the officers require. Being polite and courteous goes a looong way in having a short and sweet stop. It is never a good idea to try and get under an officers skin. Asking questions isn't a bad thing either, but you need to be tactful. Trying to make the officers look like fools is "foolhardy".
 

InvalidUserName

New member
Glockster20,

Thank you for your response. In Florida it is hard to get a motion for discovery granted in a traffic violation, so it is up to the accused to obtain relevant facts - sometimes this requires asking questions.

The sad thing is, judges are often biased in traffic proceedings and it is up to you to prove your innocence as opposed to the prosecution proving your guilt. It is quite mind-blowing that an officer’s word is considered gold in a system that is notably full of corruption.
 

Glockster20

Clinging to God and guns
Glockster20,

Thank you for your response. In Florida it is hard to get a motion for discovery granted in a traffic violation, so it is up to the accused to obtain relevant facts - sometimes this requires asking questions.

The sad thing is, judges are often biased in traffic proceedings and it is up to you to prove your innocence as opposed to the prosecution proving your guilt. It is quite mind-blowing that an officer’s word is considered gold in a system that is notably full of corruption.

You make a valid point. Officers know their credibility is on the line in any given situation. Some but not all exploit the fact that a judge or a jury is going to take their word over that of an alleged suspect. There is a good reason for this. Most police agencies when reviewing potential candidates, rely very heavily on the applicants credibility. They try to weed out non credible applicants through various application processes, interviews, including a pre-polygraph questionaire which is followed by a live polygraph screening. Then there is the psychological evaluation along with the MMPI2 pencil and paper test. Usually these processes will weed out the bad apples but sometimes a few slip through the cracks. Anyway, judges are aware of this so when an LEO testifies under oath in their courtroom, they have no reason to believe that he/she isn't telling the truth.
 

FN1910

New member
About 20 years ago one rainy night about midnight I left the local pub and pulled out of a side street into the main road. Soon after I pulled out I felt a big bump so pulled off to see what happened. It turned out that I had pulled out in front of another car and he had hit me in the rear. I called the police and two fo them came around to investigate. They put both the other driver and me in the back seat of the cruiser and started asking what happened. About every time I would say something the other fellow would have something smart to say. When they asked for my insurance info the fellow said "It better be a ____ good one". They kept writing and got all of the information about the wreck. Then one of the LEO turned to the otehr fellow and said "Mr. ______, I am going to do something for my own benefit. I am going to give you a standing sobriety test". The windows of the cruiser were fogged up and I could see what happend but next thing I knew he was handcuffed in the back seat beside me and the door was opening for me to get out.

One of the officers said that he had about all he could take of that fellow's mouth and that they were taking him down for a breathalyzer test. They gave me a ticket and said that I would probably be called to testify at his trial and to drive safely on home.

If the other fellow had just kept his mouth shut and behaved I would not have stood a chance. However he did not have his lights on, wound up pleading guilty to DUI and his insurance paid for fixing my car. The only reason he was tested was because of his smart answers. Smart answers and refusal to answer simple questions give LEO plenty of reason to suspect something else is going on.
 

TheMan

New member
Thoughts?

My thought is, while I understand how you felt here, you shouldn't have escalated the situation with your cagey responses at first contact. Right, wrong, or indifferent the officers are going to respond to any sort of real or perceived attitude differently than they would to a cooperative subject.

I was stopped on my motorcycle once for no reason. The officer admitted that when I asked him why I was stopped... "No reason. Just wanted to check you out." I'm a principled fellow and was tempted to question the stop's absence of probable cause, but knowing I was clean and had nothing to worry about I was polite and was on my way in less than a minute. Had I refused to produce ID and paperwork based on an unlawful stop it likely would have wound up w.me getting ripped off my bike, possibly dropping it, and a whole lot of inconvenience, trumped up charges, and legal fees.

At the end of the day the place to contest this sort of thing is in court, not roadside. If it's worth the potential fallout to you, then by all means proceed at will :smile:

Please follow up after your hearing, let us know how it shakes out. Good luck.
 
Hang in there, Invalid.

While I do believe that courtesy should be automatic, it should also be a two way street. Knowing that he was trying for an admission of guilt by asking you the questions he did, he should not take it personally when you are too smart to admit guilt. As for those who talk about "smart alec"(sp?) answers, I am sure that no where in the federal constitution, nor in any state constitution of which I am aware, is questioning an officer over the reason for a stop illegal. If you are that sensitive, Law Enforcement is not the field for you.

Also, the abrogation of your right against illegal search and seizure under the color of authority is not the action of a real american patriot, it is the action of a thug who is purposely subverting the constitution to which he or she pledged an oath. No excuses for the law enforcement apologists. An LEO should be held to a higher standard, because they have volunteeredto do so.
 

2beararms

New member
Interesting. I wish you had stated which county this took place in.

Parts of Florida are civilized, others are still a bit good ol' boy deep south attitude and in those parts, as one might say "they don't cotton to being sassed ... boy". Sure, it is not professional, but then it isn't in the other areas of the south where you can surly find it also, but one thing is for sure ... if your there, your not in Maryland anymore.

You refer to it as a "county police" car, which is just a strange description in Florida as most refer to a "this county Sheriff's car" or a "this municipality police car". Only Miami-Dade and Jacksonville have combined the muni and the county and have sort of "county police" which is actually still Sheriff but may be called police, however both of those areas would normally fall into the civilized category.

From your own post, it sounds like you started out of the box being a bit "upity" with the officers, touting a "III" as something they should not only recognize but should be impressed by. If that is the case, the remainder is not surprising to me at all.

It sounds like an incident that should not have gotten to this level, but in my humble opinion, you came out OK and your rights were not really violated.
 
W

wolfhunter

Guest
There's a big difference between being violated, and being inconvenienced. Your hang up with being a "III", and your lack of common courtesy when asked a question got you the exact response you wanted: something to complain about.
 

t-diddy

New member
seems that since you insisted you do not consent to any searches you're lucky you didn't end up without a license.
 

InvalidUserName

New member
Thanks to everyone that has responded.

Boomboy: I agree with you that courtesy is a two way street. I choose not to extend certain courtesies, such as ignorantly admitting guilt to crimes I did not commit, while the officer was playing a game of semantics. All too often people get caught in this trap and admit to things they did not do. Remember that anything you say is admissible in court. You can cause severe damage to your credibility by having to contest your own comments. Also, thank you for your powerful comments surrounding the issue of constitutional rights.

2beararms: I have been advised not to mention the name of the county at this time, but will keep everyone informed of the outcome post criminal and civil actions. Thank you for the comments.

It seems that my comment on being the “III” was somehow misconstrued as me suggesting that I was heir to some sort of entitlement. This is not the case, and the problem lies with my wording of the original post. I never pointed out that I was the III to the officer. My actual statement was that “the car belonged to my father.” Placing emphasis on the III in my post was to bring light to the fact that the name of the registration and insurance was the same as on my license. This was to call into question the officers credibility as far as his ability of observation. After all, this incident occurred because of his alleged “observation”.

Glock Fan: I have – and unfortunately I have already been informed that my case will be heard in such a venue.

T-Diddy: I am not sure I follow. Can you please elaborate on why you feel this way?
 
Thanks to everyone that has responded.

Glock Fan: I have – and unfortunately I have already been informed that my case will be heard in such a venue. /QUOTE]


I had a similar case in one of the Southern states. I was fortunate that my attorney requested and got a change of venue. The case was heard in a larger city and the jury we got was a lot more favorable to my cause. Trial lasted 2 days and ended in my favor.

Good luck!


gf
 
It is called being a citizen, right?

From your own post, it sounds like you started out of the box being a bit "upity" with the officers, touting a "III" as something they should not only recognize but should be impressed by. If that is the case, the remainder is not surprising to me at all.

As later stated, the "III" issue was in regards to the registration/ownership of the vehicle. Often, when asserting one's right against a warrentless search,if the driver is not the legal owner, an LEO might raise the question of whether or not the driver of the vehicle has a right to deny search because he/she is not the owner of the vehicle. Of course, if you are driving the vehicle with the owner's permission, you are acting as a legal agent of the owner when denying the search. The LEO knows this, but it will often gain permission from a reluctant driver who is already stressed from asserting their fourth amendment right. Nice try by the LEO, but again; the officer should not take it personally when a citizen stands on their legal rights.

It sounds like an incident that should not have gotten to this level, but in my humble opinion, you came out OK and your rights were not really violated.

No offense, Bear, but it doesn't sound like you and I are reading the same post. First, the officer asked him if he was an LEO or a lawyer. After learning that he was simply a "civilian", he figured that Invalid probably didn't know what he was doing, and could probably be intimidated into standing down. Now I don't know Invalid personally, and he might be as dumb as a handsaw at a power drill convention, but he is crystal clear on his fifth amendment and fourth amendment rights.

Notice that they did not question any of the passengers? The reason is because passengers should not be addressed if you are making a simple traffic stop. The fact that these people were not further scrutinized leads me to believe that the "fruity odor" that was claimed by one of the officers was a false claim intended to try to further intimidate Invalid. If there really was a suspicion of alcohol (I am assuming Florida has an open container law) then the other occupants would have been removed from the vehicle and the vehicle summarily searched. Probable cause = no warrent needed. However, they already knew that this so-called "smart alec" knew what he was talking about, and an unsuccessful search would be bad if the issue went to court. And yall know how them smart alec city boys like ta go ta court n' stir up thangs.

Finally, they used a legally owned piece of private property to make an end run around his fourth amendment right. Now I know that there are a lot of LEO defenders out there. I will say that I am also a defender of the men and women in blue provided they are doing their job legally and ethically. However, I just don't understand why some of the second amendment proponents on this board so casually dismiss the fourth and fifth amendments. If it is okay to try to force someone into an admission of guilt (like they did to Invalis); if it is okay to subvert his right against both illegal search, and illegal seizure (as they would have if he had refused to open his trunk so that they could put his gun in there); then, by the same logic, it is okay for the LEOs in New Orleans to illegally steal thousands of legally owned firearms. Each right protects the others.

It is time that some of you got it through your head that LEOs are there for the protection of the public at large, not for individuals. Unfortunately, a large percentage of those officers believe that legal gun owners are a threat to civil order. In many places, those officers are in the majority. The only person that can protect you is you. Do so against all threats, legal or otherwise.
 
Right AND wrong, Cath.

no police can take your lisence or even threaten you with arrest for not consenting to a search.

While the police can not legally do what you are stating, they CAN do whatever they want. If you are not smart or rich enough to defend yourself in court, or the department is sufficiently corrupt, then the end result is usually the same: the citizen gets screwed.
 

t-diddy

New member
i had a buddy get pulled around 9 or 10 years ago in a big city in ne florida. he didn't consent to a search and the leo took his license and told him to walk. leo told him that 1- the license was the state's property and 2- that when he signed for his license consent to search was a given. he didn't fight it. looking at the interwebs for florida's laws today i can't see anywhere that that was a valid seizure of his license. it also seems like maybe that was covered in my driver's ed class too, but that was almost 20 years ago.
 
Did he get his license back?

i had a buddy get pulled around 9 or 10 years ago in a big city in ne florida. he didn't consent to a search and the leo took his license and told him to walk. leo told him that 1- the license was the state's property and 2- that when he signed for his license consent to search was a given. he didn't fight it. looking at the interwebs for florida's laws today i can't see anywhere that that was a valid seizure of his license. it also seems like maybe that was covered in my driver's ed class too, but that was almost 20 years ago.

Well, as you probably already know, that is a crock of s***. If he had taken it to court, that cop would have faced some fairly serious disciplinary action. provided, of course, it could be proved that he did say and do those things. Ten years ago probably equals no dash cam.
 

New Threads

Members online

No members online now.

Forum statistics

Threads
49,154
Messages
621,735
Members
74,111
Latest member
ucf4
Top