Florida Traffic Stop - Long Ver.
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Thread: Florida Traffic Stop - Long Ver.

  1. Florida Traffic Stop - Long Ver.

    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 by InvalidUserName; 02-10-2009 at 09:44 AM.

  2.   
  3. #2
    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.

  4. 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?

  5. #4
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    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".

  6. 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.

  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by InvalidUserName View Post
    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.

  8. #7
    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.

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by InvalidUserName View Post

    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

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

  10. #9
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    Angry 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.
    "The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." Thomas Jefferson

  11. #10
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    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.

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