County Criminal Court: CRIMINAL PROCEDURE Ė Search and Seizure Ė Stop.

Stop proper where police received anonymous tip that defendant was driving a particular vehicle at a particular location without a valid driverís license when tip gave the defendantís name, date of birth, and make, color, and license plate number, and police corroborated that defendant had a suspended driverís license and that vehicle was registered to defendantís mother. Judgment and sentence affirmed. Samuelson v. State, No. CRC 05-33 APANO, (Fla. 6th Cir.App.Ct. Feb. 8,2006).

 

IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE SIXTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT

OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA IN AND FOR PINELLAS COUNTY

 

DANIEL SAMUELSON

 

††††††††††† Appellant,

Appeal No. CRC 05-00033 APANO

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††††††††††††UCN522005AP000033XXXXCR

v.

 

STATE OF FLORIDA

 

††††††††††† Appellee.

___________________________/

 

Opinion filed __________________.

 

Appeal from a judgment and sentence

entered by the Pinellas County Court

County Judge Dorothy Vaccaro

 

Roger Futerman, Esq.

Attorney for appellant

 

Kelly McKnight, Esq.

Assistant State Attorney

 

ORDER AND OPINION

††††††††††† (J. Morris)

††††††††††† THIS MATTER is before the Court on the defendant, Daniel Samuelsonís, appeal from a judgment and sentence entered by the Pinellas County Court. After reviewing the briefs and record, this Court affirms the judgment and sentence.

††††††††††† The defendant entered a no contest plea to DWLSR charges; and he reserved his right to appeal the denial of his motion to suppress. The defendant claims that the police had no right to stop the vehicle that he was driving.

††††††††††† The police received an anonymous tip that a particular individual was driving a particular vehicle at a particular location. The tip gave the individualís name, his date of birth, and the make, color, model, and license plate number of the vehicle. The tip said that the driver had a suspended driverís license and that he was driving home from work. An officer who patrolled the area where the individual was said to be driving, checked the individualís name and corroborated that the individual did have a suspended driverís license. The officer viewed a photograph of the individual. The officer also testified that he learned that the vehicle that was being driven by the individual was registered to the individualís mother. Three days after receiving this information, the officer, while on patrol, noticed the suspect vehicle being driven. Although the officer could not be sure that the driver was the individual who had the suspended driverís license, the driver did very generally match the individual --- a white male with brown hair. The officer verified that the defendantís driverís license was still suspended, and then made a stop to investigate. Upon making the stop, the officer recognized that the driver (defendant) was the individual that had the suspended driverís license. The defendant was subsequently arrested for DWLSR. The defendant filed a motion to suppress, but that motion was denied. The defendant is appealing that denial.

†††††††††† The order denying the motion to suppress was decided on an issue of law. Therefore, the standard of review is de novo. Ornelas v. U.S., 517 U.S. 690 (1996).

An anonymous tip can provide the basis for a valid stop if the information in the tip is corroborated by the police. State v. Maynard, 783 So.2d 226 (Fla. 2001).

It is clear that the officer had knowledge that the defendantís license was suspended. That knowledge came from the tip plus the officer verified it with the DMV, both when he got the tip and again just before he made the stop. That knowledge established not just reasonable suspicion for the detention of the defendant, but probable cause for the defendantís arrest if he was seen driving. See State v. Pugh, 635 So.2d 999 (Fla. 2d DCA 1991); Stone v. State, 856 So.2d 1109 (Fla. 4th DCA 2003).

The question, however, is whether or not the officer had at least reasonable suspicion to believe that the defendant was, as the trial judge found, the person driving the detained vehicle. The totality of the circumstances must be taken into consideration when determining if the officer has a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. See Grant v. State, 718 So.2d 238 (Fla. 2d DCA 1999).

This court holds that the totality of the circumstances were sufficient to establish reasonable suspicion. Those circumstances were: (1) just three days before making the stop the officer had a very specific tip about a particular individual who was driving without a driverís license; (2) the officer corroborated that portion of the tip that the suspect had a suspended driverís license and re-corroborated that fact moments before he made the stop; (3) the officer also had a very specific tip that the suspect was driving a particular vehicle with a particular tag number, and this portion of the tip corroborated by the officer learning that the registered owner of the vehicle was the suspectís mother.

Three days after the tip the officer saw a white male driving the vehicle matching that description and registered to the defendantís mother. The defendant suggests that it could have been the defendantís brother or some other white male driving the vehicle. While that is certainly true, it makes no difference to the outcome. The standard is reasonable suspicion, not proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Clearly under the totality of the circumstances there were sufficient articulable facts for the officer to suspect that it was the defendant who was unlawfully driving the vehicle. Therefore, the officer was justified in stopping the defendant to investigate his reasonable suspicion. The trial court was correct to deny the defendantís motion to suppress. The judgment and sentence are affirmed.†††††††

††††††††††† ††††††††††† IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the judgment and sentence are affirmed.

††††††††††† DONE AND ORDERED in Chambers at Clearwater, Pinellas County, Florida this _____ day of January, 2006.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ______________________________

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† David A. Demers

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Circuit Judge

 

 

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ____________________________

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Robert J. Morris, Jr.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Circuit Judge

 

 

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ____________________________

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Irene H. Sullivan

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Circuit Judge

 

cc:††††††† State Attorney

 

††††††††††† Roger Futerman, Esq.

 

††††††††††† Judge Vaccaro