When a police officer pulls you over, there must be probable cause to stop you. Police officers are not allowed to simply pull you over and start investigating without a good reason. In some cases, even when police claim to have probable cause, careful analysis of the traffic stop reveals that they really didn't.
If a traffic stop leads to a search of you or your vehicle, then any evidence seized in the search could be deemed inadmissible in court if it can be shown that police did not have probable cause to pull you over. Keep in mind, too, that just because police stop your vehicle does not automatically give them the right to search it or you.
With these issues in mind, consider a recent traffic stop in Orlando that has led to serious charges against a man from Eatonville.
Orlando police claim the man was pulled over on suspicion that his car windows were tinted too darkly. Florida law limits the darkness of window tinting.
Officers apparently asked to search the vehicle, but the man declined. A news report doesn't say exactly why police asked to conduct a search. According to police, a K9 team was requested by the officers who were testing the window tinting, and a dog arrived on the scene and alerted on the car.
The police report indicates that officers then searched the vehicle and found a loaded handgun, roughly two ounces of cocaine and seven cellphones.
Police also claim that one of the car's windows was two times as dark as the limit in Florida.
Now the man, who has a prior felony conviction on his record, is facing charges of cocaine trafficking, use of a firearm during a felony crime, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. An article in the Orlando Sentinel notes that, in two previous cases, prosecutors decided to drop cocaine-related charges against the man.
For more on these matters, please see our previous post, "Under Florida law, when does cocaine possession become cocaine trafficking?"