In the state of Florida, there exists a law known as the Stop and Frisk Law that states that an officer may stop an individual and search them if he/she believes that person has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a criminal offense. In order for an officer to determine this, however, he/she must have reasonable suspicion meaning there is identifiable evidence that proves an individual has, will, or is committing a crime. Officers simply cannot stop anyone they encounter simply because they want to or have a hunch that the individual has ill intentions.
Unfortunately, too many police officers in the state of Florida are guilty of stopping and frisking people using their race, gender, and even their economic status as their sole basis for the stop. Aside from biased policing, officers are also known for stopping individuals without having any evidence that justifies their stop and/or search.
Now, just as there is a law that permits officers to stop and frisk individuals, there is also the Fourth Amendment that protects individuals from unreasonable stops and seizures. To determine if a Fort Lauderdale, FL police officer violated your rights during a stop and search, you have to assess the situation to see if their actions are justifiable. For example, if an officer has reason to believe you are armed after temporarily detaining you, he/she can pat you down to confirm or deny their suspicions. In the event a weapon or any evidence of a criminal offense is recovered, it can be seized, and you can be charged for the crime you have committed.
However, if the officer has no reason to suspect you were committing a crime nor did he/she feel threatened and still searched you without your consent, that officer may be in violation of the Fourth Amendment and can be held accountable for their actions. In fact, if you can prove the officer had no reason to search you, any evidence of a criminal offense that was recovered cannot be used to incriminate you. That means if a police officer violated your Fourth Amendment rights in order to search you which resulted in them recovering a controlled substance, that officer does not have the right to charge you with drug possession. But that doesn’t mean he/she won’t still arrest you and have the criminal charges filed against you.
You see, many police officers often violate the rights of the citizens they should be protecting just so they can make what their department perceives to be a “lawful” arrest.
What should I do if I think a police officer in Fort Lauderdale, FL illegally stopped and searched me?
If you believe a police officer did not have a valid reason for stopping and searching you which led to your arrest or you aren’t sure whether your rights were violated, you will want to speak with an experienced police brutality attorney in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Attorney Gabriela C. Novo is one legal expert who will not only help you recognize the officer for their act of misconduct but can also help you fight any drug charges or other criminal offenses you have been accused of committing. To schedule an initial consultation with Fort Lauderdale, FL police brutality lawyer Gabriela C. Novo, contact her office today at 954-822-5198.
Gabriela C. Novo, P.A. is located at:
200 S.E. 6th Street, Suite 102
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301