Buckle Up

Effective June 30, 2009, people can be stopped for simply not wearing a seat belt. Previously, a person could only be ticketed for a seatbelt violation if the driver was also stopped for another reason, such as speeding.


Slow Down

Most officers will not stop you if you are only a few miles per hour over the speed limit. However, if it is late at night, on a Friday or Saturday, officers are on the lookout for impaired drivers and will stop a driver even for slight speeding just to get a whiff of the driver's breath.


Take the Tint Off the Windows

Even legal tint will not prevent a traffic stop based on a suspected tint violation. All the officer needs is reasonable suspicion that the tint is illegal to perform a traffic stop. Once stopped, the officer is supposed to check the legality of the tint relatively quickly. If the tint is legal, the stop will still be legal if a reasonable officer would have suspected the tint to be illegal. Of course, once you're stopped, the officer can then legally ask your permission to search the car, smell your breath and any other "odors" that me be coming from you or the car. If he develops suspicion of a crime by, for example, smelling burnt cannabis, you and your vehicle become fair game for a search.


Have a Passenger in the Car

Whether a traffic violation actually occurred is often your word versus the officer's word. He says you rolled through the stop sign and you say you came to a complete stop. A lot of times the court will agree with the officer unless you can bring in a witness to verify your version of the events. Most cops are very ethical and would not pull someone over and make up a reason after the fact; but it does happen, so guard against it by having someone with you in the car.


Use Your Turn Signal

In Florida, a turn signal is only required if other traffic would be affected by your lane change and/or turn. However, this will not stop a cop from pulling you over for failure to use it. The requirement that other traffic needs to be affected came from a Florida Supreme Court case that interpreted the turn-signal statute. Most people do not know this and it ends up getting litigated by a Motion to Suppress after charges have been filed stemming from the traffic stop. Avoid the charges in the first place by using your turn signal, even if you don't technically have to.