The Constitutions of the United States and the State of Florida afford the same level of protection against an unreasonable search and seizure by law enforcement officers. When a police officer initiates a seizure of a person, regardless of whether it is through a traffic stop or stopping a pedestrian, the person subject to the restriction of movement is deemed to have been seized, even if temporarily.

Typically, the stopping of a motorist by the police will be deemed be “reasonable”, and thus a justifiable seizure, if the police have 1) a well-founded reasonable articulable suspicion that the motorist has committed a criminal offense, OR 2) probable cause to believe the motorist has committed a traffic infraction, such as speeding.

“Probable cause” exists where the facts and circumstances within an officer’s knowledge are sufficient to warrant a person of reasonable caution to believe that an offense has been or is being committed.

A “reasonable suspicion” of criminal activity must be more than just an unparticularized suspicion or mere hunch, and must be supported by articulable facts that criminal activity may be afoot, even if the officer lacks probable cause. The Fourth Amendment requires some minimal level of objective justification for making the stop