Don't Let A Simple Traffic Stop Result In A Legal Nightmare

There are numerous traffic and moving violations that give police reason to pull you over in Florida; but while you might be pulled over for one infraction, know that traffic stops can lead to searches of your vehicle and additional charges for other crimes. You need to understand your rights in order to protect them, and the criminal defense lawyers at Thomas G. Fallis, P.A., can help you do just that.

For more than two decades, Thomas G. Fallis, P.A., has fought to protect the rights of individuals pulled over in traffic stops in the Jacksonville area and throughout northeastern Florida. We are well-known in the legal community for our persistence in the courtroom and our unwavering resolve to secure successful verdicts for our clients. We know the criminal justice system because criminal defense is our passion.

Reasonable Suspicion Vs. Probable Cause

In order for police to legally pull you over, an officer must have "reasonable suspicion" that you were engaged in criminal activity while operating a vehicle or as a passenger in a vehicle. Things like speeding, swerving over the centerline, driving with headlights off or not wearing a seatbelt may give police reasonable suspicion of other criminal activity, which can lead to probing questions in order to get "probable cause" to investigate further.

It's important to know: Reasonable suspicion only allows an officer to temporarily detain you — usually long enough to run a warrant check and write a ticket. Probable cause, however, allows an officer to place you under arrest. Probable cause must be based on facts, not an officer's hunch.

Driving While Intoxicated: What Should Drivers Do?

Many traffic stops for moving violations, such as speeding or driving without a seatbelt on, can result in suspicion of driving under the influence. Everything from bloodshot eyes to the smell of alcohol on your breath can all give an officer reason to have you take a field sobriety test.

While you have the right to refuse a sobriety test and a breath test, this can result in a misdemeanor charge. If you are convicted, you could lose your license for more than a year. The attorneys at our firm will not only help you understand your rights during DUI stops, we may be able to mitigate the consequences of exerting them too.

Vehicle Searches During A Traffic Stop

Police often use traffic stops as reason to search a person's vehicle for drugs or drug paraphernalia. If a person consents to the search and drugs or drug paraphernalia are found, a person can be arrested on drug charges in addition to charges associated with the initial stop.

The Fourth Amendment protects you from unlawful search and seizure, meaning an officer needs to have probable cause to search your vehicle. Knowing what to do if an officer asks to search your vehicle isn't always obvious to everyone, which can lead to situations where an officer mistakenly violates your civil rights.

Get Answers. Get Help. Get Thomas G. Fallis, P.A., On Your Side.

Protecting your rights in a traffic stop can be difficult if you don't know what to do. At Thomas G. Fallis, P.A., our defense attorneys have more than 50 years of combined experience successfully handling criminal defense matters. We can clearly explain your rights and the steps you should take to protect them.

Schedule a free initial consultation to get answers to your most pressing questions. To make an appointment at our Jacksonville office, send us a message or call 904-717-6684.