A 24-year-old Florida man found himself behind bars after his vehicle was stopped on the highway. Officers from the Lady Lake Police Department allegedly turned up 80 grams of marijuana in the car, along with a digital scale and the kind of plastic bags that are used for drug sales.
Was the driver of that vehicle just unlucky? Maybe — but he was definitely taking a big chance that his vehicle would be stopped from the moment he got behind the wheel. The tint of his vehicle’s windows reportedly didn’t comply with state laws. That’s all the excuse the police need to make a traffic stop — and a traffic stop can easily lead to a full-blown search of your car. In this case, the police say that a K-9 unit signaled the presence of drugs, justifying their search.
What else will cause the police to stop a car? These are some common reasons:
- Speeding: Don’t fool yourself into believing that you can skate by if you’re “following the flow of traffic.” If you’re exceeding the posted speed limit, you can be legally stopped.
- Using a cellphone: In Florida, using a cellphone (or any wireless communication device) while you’re driving is enough to cause the police to pull you over. This may be particularly important to know if you’re traveling from another state where the law is more lenient.
- Your vehicle is in bad shape: If your headlights aren’t working, your windshield is cracked or your bumper is hanging, your vehicle could prove a hazard to others on the road. That’s plenty of justification for a traffic stop.
- You’re driving unsafely. If you’re tailgating, weaving between vehicles, cutting off other drivers as you change lanes or driving in the passing lane for no apparent reason, you can expect the police to take notice.
When a traffic stop isn’t justified, you can often avoid criminal consequences — even if you’re found in the possession of drugs. If the traffic stop is valid, your criminal case gets much more complicated, so it’s wise to understand the rules of the road. If you’re facing criminal charges after a traffic stop, never assume the stop was valid. Talk to an attorney right away.