The Florida Highway Patrol has announced intentions to increase efforts to stop road rage incidents and aggressive driving. This should result in more traffic stops which should also lead to more arrests. Aggressive driving typically means following too closely, quick lane changes and speeding. Those actions typically just result in traffic citations that are punishable by a fine, or potentially a license suspension if a driver gets too many within a certain period of time. If the aggressive driving is dangerous enough, in the opinion of the officer, it can become reckless driving which is a misdemeanor crime punishable by jail time. Additionally, many arrests for more serious crimes begin with a seemingly harmless traffic stop. Driving with a suspended license, DUI, possession of various illegal drugs, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and carrying a concealed weapon are all crimes that are often detected by police after an unrelated traffic stop.
Everyone should be aware of their rights. If a police officer stops you for violating a traffic law, that is not a legal basis to search you or your vehicle. The police officer can always ask you if you will consent to a search and make it sound like a good idea for you to consent to a search. However, everyone should understand that a traffic stop plus a police officer’s hunch that you are involved in a crime do not equate to probable cause to search, and you have a right to refuse a request to search you or any of your property.