There are three levels of Police-Citizen Encounters in Florida.
The first is a Consensual Encounter. A citizen may either voluntarily comply with a police officer’s request or ignore them. If an officer comes up to you and asks for your identification for no reason, you can say “no” and walk away.
The next level is an Investigatory Stop. The officer can temporarily detain you if the officer has reasonable suspicion to believe that you are committing, have committed, or are about to commit a crime. The officer has to have a well-founded, articulable suspicion of criminal activity. Mere suspicion is not enough. Once the reason for the stop is eliminated, the stop must terminate.
The third level is an Arrest. The officer has to have probable cause to believe a crime has been committed (more likely than not). To determine which level of encounter occurred, the Court looks at the totality of the circumstances (all the facts) surrounding the event.
If you have a question about your criminal case, please contact our Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorneys for a free initial consultation at (904) 634-0900.