Who Can the Police Detain in a Traffic Stop?

Can the police detain a car passenger even if that’s not the reason they were pulled over? Several Florida courts have said that the police are not allowed to detain a passenger who attempts to leave the scene of a lawful traffic stop without violating that passenger’s constitutional rights. But an appeals court in Daytona Beach recently said that the police are allowed to do just that.

In the case of Edwin Aguiar versus the State of Florida, Mr. Aguiar was the front-seat passenger in a car that the police stopped because a brake light was out, and the driver was not wearing a seat belt. When the driver pulled into a parking space in a restaurant parking lot, Aguiar immediately opened the passenger-side door and stepped out. The officer who was on scene ordered Aguiar to get back into the car, and Aguiar ultimately did so. But then the officer saw a bag of cocaine and arrested Aguiar for possessing it.

The appeals court said that the officer lawfully detained Aguiar for the following reasons:

When an officer approaches a car that has been stopped for a traffic violation, that officer needs to be ready to react to violence that could come from anyone located inside that vehicle. A passenger who gets out of a car and begins to walk away is a distraction that divides the officer's attention, thereby increasing the potential risk of harm to the officer. As the passenger moves further away from the car, it becomes impossible for the officer to watch that passenger and the remaining occupants. If the officer focuses on the potential threat from the passenger, that officer might not notice that one of the occupants is about to attack him. Conversely, if the officer focuses on those inside the car, then he might not notice that the departing passenger is returning to harm him. Or he might not notice that the passenger who left the immediate area has a gun and is about to shoot at him from a distance.

Even if you are not the driver of a vehicle that gets pulled over, you can still be held accountable for violations of the law. Be careful when a car you are in gets pulled over by the police, as you are still liable as a passenger in the vehicle. If you feel like your rights have been violated, contact me Ron Chapman at 561-832-4348 or connect with my West Palm Beach Law Office online today. I am an experienced criminal defense attorney and am dedicated to defending your rights.

Share This Blog


Llama ahora: (561) 832-4348

Contact Form Sidebar
* Campos RequeridosCampos Requeridos
Su Información Está Segura con Nosotros

Respetamos su privacidad. La información que nos brinda será utilizada para responder sus preguntas o agendar una cita si usted así lo solicita.

Follow Us On

400 Clematis St. Suite 206, West Palm Beach, FL 33401
Desde 1990, el Sr. Chapman ha representado a personas que han sido acusadas de cometer delitos de varios tipos, tales como DUI, violencia doméstica, posesión de armas, posesión de drogas, eliminación de antecedentes penales, infracciones de tránsito, asesinato, homicidio involuntario, abuso infantil, delitos sexuales, abuso de personas mayores, apelaciones y violaciones de libertad condicional.
Abogado de Defensa Criminal en West Palm Beach, FL

© Propiedad Intelectual 2024. Abogado Penalista en Florida. Todos los Derechos Reservados.

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram Skip to content