IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE SIXTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA IN AND FOR PINELLAS COUNTY

STATE OF FLORIDA

v.†††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††† Appeal No. CRC 00-12114 CFANO

ELIZABETH M. ROHRER

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Opinion filed ________________.

Appeal from a decision of the Pinellas County Court

County Judge Thomas McGrady

Jennifer Schick, Esq.
Assistant State Attorney

Joy Goodyear, Esq.
Assistant Public Defender

ORDER AND OPINION

††††† (Demers, J.)

††††† THIS MATTER is before the Court on the Stateís appeal from a decision of the Pinellas County Court granting the defendantís motion to suppress. After reviewing the briefs and record, this Court reverses the decision of the trial court.

†††††† The State contends that the deputy had reasonable suspicion to stop the defendant because the deputy ran the defendantís tag in the computer and found the registered owner of the car had a suspended driverís license. Prior to making the stop, the deputy verified that the information on the registered owner matched that of the driver of the car.††††

†††† This Court has previously ruled that similar facts gave rise to a reasonable suspicion that the driver of the vehicle was violating his driverís license restriction. See State v. Tolley,† No. CRC 99-9965 CFANO (Fla. 6th Cir. Ct. March 14, 2001). In Tolley this Court relied upon Smith v. State, 574 So.2d 300 (Fla. 5th DCA 1991) for the proposition that the police do not need to determine if the registered owner and the driver are one in the same prior to making an investigatory stop. All that is needed is the knowledge that the registered owner of the vehicle has an invalid driverís license. Therefore, based upon Tolley and Smith this Court finds that the deputy had reasonable suspicion that the driver of the car was driving without a valid driverís license. Thus, the stop was lawful and the evidence should not have been suppressed. The trial courtís ruling to the contrary is reversed.

†††††† The defendantís reliance upon State v. Perkins, 760 So.2d 85 (Fla. 2000) is misplaced. In contrast to the case at bar, in Perkins there was no information prior to the stop that the registered owner had a suspended or otherwise invalid driverís license. Furthermore, the issue in Perkins was whether identity of the driver is subject to suppression where a vehicle is unlawfully stopped. Clearly Perkins does not justify suppression.

†††††† IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the order granting the motion to suppress is reversed, and this matter is remanded to the trial court for action consistent with this opinion.

††††††† DONE AND ORDERED in Chambers at St.Petersburg, Pinellas County, Florida this 2nd day of July, 2001.

__________________________†
David A. Demers
Circuit Judge


_____________________________
John Schaefer
Circuit Judge


____________________________
Irene H. Sullivan
Circuit Judge

 

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cc:†† State Attorney
Public Defender
Judge McGrady