Prosecutor concedes DUI arrest was illegal
Vero Beach prosecutors last week dismissed DUI charges against a former police Detective.
Police arrested the detective after unlawfully stopping the car in which she was a passenger. This traffic stop and the DUI arrest that followed were unlawful.
Florida law allows a police officer to make an arrest for DUI without a warrant in only these circumstances:
(1) the officer observes the offense;
(2) the officer obtains enough evidence to reach the level of probable cause when investigating a traffic accident; or
(3) the officer receives information amounting to probable cause from a ‘fellow officer.’
In this case, the arresting officer relied on evidence from a non-police officer in a non-accident situation, and he never saw the former detective driving.
When defense counsel filed a motion to suppress the evidence the police officer obtained illegally, the prosecutor acknowledged the illegality of the officer’s actions, and dismissed the charge of drunk driving.
The irony of a former police detective being the victim of another police officer’s illegal actions was not lost on her. However, she took the high road and did not criticize the errant officers.
“I’m just relieved that it’s over,” she said, “and I can get on with my life.”
In an independent legal proceeding, the Driver’s License Hearing Officer also found the arrest to be illegal, and overturned the suspension of her driver’s license.