FL Supreme Court rules that you can be forced from car during traffic stop

Reporter: Haley Zarcone
Published: Updated:

The days of telling police “no” are over.

The Florida Supreme Court ruled that you can be kicked out of your car during a traffic stop so a K-9 can search it.

Some worry this goes against the 4th Amendment, which protects you from unreasonable searches.

You shouldn’t have to get out of the car unless you’re asked to, and you shouldn’t have to unless law enforcement is conducting a search.

You can lawfully refuse such a search, but if a K-9 unit is present and is searching your car, it’s now a law that you have to obey.

As a driver in Florida, what rights do you have?

“Drivers in Florida don’t have any rights; they have privileges, and they have a privilege to drive on the roads in the State of Florida,” said Scot Goldberg, a managing partner of law firm Goldberg and Abraham in Fort Myers.

Although every person has constitutional rights, freedom of speech and protection from unreasonable searches and seizures are just two, but how do those come into play when you’re pulled over?

“If they pulled you over for a traffic infraction, and they have reasonable leave, for [example] that you may be having drugs in your vehicle, and they want to do a drug sweep, there’s not a whole lot you can do about it. My recommendation is just cooperate and don’t make any statements and let your lawyers do any arguing if there’s going to be any,” Goldberg said.

The Florida Supreme Court ruled 5-1 that drivers can be told to get out of their cars during drug sweeps conducted by a K-9 unit.

Goldberg said he believes this ruling was made for one reason: safety.

“Ultimately, when you’re asking for a search, or you’re calling a K-9 in, if you do have something in the vehicle, or you do have something to hide, that really heightens the possibility of somebody being hurt or somebody making a very poor decision on driving away using a firearm, using a weapon,” Goldberg said.

If you’re asked to get out of your car for a K-9 search and you don’t, Goldberg said you could face charges of resisting law enforcement.

Bottom line, Goldberg said when it comes to stops with law enforcement, be respectful and give the information asked of you, but legally, you don’t have to answer questions like on where you are going or coming from.

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