DUI Case Reversed Due to Illegal Police Stop of Pickup Truck

In a recent DUI (driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs) case south of Jacksonville Florida, the defendant was driving on I-95 and failed to stop at an open weigh station. The defendant was driving a large pickup truck, and the police officer believed that the defendant was required to stop his truck at the weigh station. When the defendant did not stop, the police officer pulled him over and told him to drive back to the weigh station. Apparently, according to the police officer, the defendant committed a traffic violation on the drive back to the weigh station so the police officer stopped him. The police officer indicated that he smelled alcohol on the defendant and initiated a DUI investigation. The police officer ultimately arrested the defendant for DUI and searched his vehicle. The police officer found marijuana in the vehicle and arrested the defendant for possession of marijuana in addition to DUI.

The criminal defense lawyer moved to have all of the evidence obtained by the police officer after the stop suppressed based on an illegal stop. This would include all of the police officer’s observations related to the DUI, including the field sobriety tests and the breathalyzer results, as well as the evidence of the marijuana in the vehicle. Once the criminal defense lawyer files a motion to suppress the evidence, the state has the burden of proving the stop was valid. In this case, the state could not establish that the defendant was required to stop at the weigh station with his big truck. Therefore, the state could not establish that the police officer had a right to stop the defendant. When the state cannot establish that the traffic stop was legal, the evidence of criminal activity obtained after the stop is typically thrown out. As a result, all evidence of the DUI and possession of marijuana charge was thrown out, and the charges were ultimately dismissed.

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