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Lane Weaving and DUI Stops

By: M. Dye
Date Added : September 3, 2012 Views : 3397
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Among the most common reasons given by police officers for initiating a DUI traffic stop is that the driver of the automobile was \"weaving\" as he was driving or \"crossing over\" the marked lane lines. However, under Florida Law, simply swerving across lane lines is not always a legally adequate reason for an officer to initiate a traffic stop. Whether or not the lane weaving constitutes a legally adequate reason to initiate a traffic stop is dependent upon the totality of the circumstances.In order for the police to conduct a traffic stop the officer making the traffic stop must have one of the following 1) probable cause to believe that a law has been violated by the operator of the car to be stopped; 2) reasonable suspicion to believe that a traffic law has been violated; or 3) that the operator of the car to be stopped is involved in criminal activity. Basically, the police officer needs to witness the driver of a automobile either 1) break a traffic law or 2) have a basis to believe that the driver is impaired. [randimg] Pursuant to Florida Law, crossing a lane line without signaling is not a traffic infraction unless it interferes with other traffic. Hence, if a driver is the only car on the road and weaves over a lane line and immediately corrects right back into his lane, that driver has not committed a traffic infraction. Absent further facts, there would be no legally sufficient basis for the officer to initiate a traffic stop.However if a police officer were to witness a vehicle weave over the lane line and then follows that automobile for a distance consistently observing the car crossing over the lane lines that would be considered a \"driving pattern.\" If the police officer witnesses a driving pattern which, based upon his training and experience, is indicative of DUI, the officer would have reasonable suspicion to believe that the operator is involved in criminal activity. Consistently weaving across lane lines is considered to be a \"lack of vigilance\" and has been held to be indicative of DUI. The significant distinction that needs to be observed is whether the weaving is a one time occurrence or amounts to a driving pattern. The distinction lies in whether the weaving occurrence was an isolated occurrence or if it was repetitive.

Michael Dye is a Florida DUI Lawyer with offices in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. For more information or to schedule a meeting, please call (954)745-5848 or Click Here.

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