Case No.: 08-021913MM10A, Broward County, Judge J. Lazarus, August 19, 2009
Allegations: DUI (second offense outside five years). On September 12, 2008, my client was seized by Officer Hamilton of the Plantation Police Department after he responded to what he knew to be ‘some kind of disturbance.' Officer Hamilton arrived to find a group of people in the street of a residential neighborhood. Upon his arrival, Officer Hamilton, who had activated his overhead lights, observed no disturbance nor any crime being committed. He approached my client, who was entering her vehicle, because she was closest in proximity to where he was at the time. His purpose at that time was to ‘see what was going on.' At that time, Officer Hamilton told my client not to go anywhere and to ‘tell him what happened.' Upon Officer Hamilton's order to my client ‘not to go anywhere,' my client was not free to leave. After seizing my client, Officer Hamilton observed about her characteristics he believed were consistent with impairment. My client was ultimately arrested for DUI by Officer Mason of the Plantation Police Department. Because Officer Hamilton had no information with respect to the commission of any crime, his seizure of my client was without the requisite reasonable suspicion or probable cause needed to effect a fourth amendment seizure. There are three levels of police encounters with citizens for the purpose of legal fourth amendment seizures. They are, (1) consensual encounters, for which no reasonable suspicion is necessary; (2) “Terry” stops, which require reasonable suspicion to believe criminal activity is afoot; and (3) Probable cause to arrest. See Popple vs. State, 626 So.2d 185 (Fla. 1993). The order by Officer Hamilton to my client ‘ not to go anywhere' was a seizure as her freedom to leave was curtailed. Because at the time of the detention of my client, Officer Hamilton had no information with respect to the commission of any crime, his seizure of her was illegal. As the result, all evidence seized as the result was suppressed. The state was forced to drop the DUI charge. Defended by Lloyd H. Golburgh, Esq.