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Peeples v. State, No. 2D14-1009, 2015 WL 5139404 *1

(Fla. 2d DCA Sept. 2, 2015)

The defendant was stopped while driving in Charlotte County, Florida, had his vehicle searched, and was eventually convicted for six drug offenses, including possession of cocaine and possession of a controlled substance (both third-degree felonies). On appeal before the Second District Court of Appeals, the Defendant challenged the stop that led to the search for, and discovery of, the drugs and paraphernalia that formed the basis for his six convictions. The defendant had been stopped by officers for failing to maintain a single lane (or what is commonly referred to as “weaving”). However, in Florida, there is a “safety concern” element related to this traffic offense, and a violation does not occur unless the driver’s “weaving” creates a danger to others on the roadway. Due to Defendant’s weaving not creating a reasonable safety concern at any time leading up to his arrest, the Second DCA overturned all six convictions of the lower court.

The Peeples is a huge case for DUI practitioners and defendants, it reaffirms the Second District’s seminal case, Crooks v. State, 710 So.2d 1041, 1043 (Fla. 2d DCA 1998), which has been a DUI defense practitioner’s holy grail for almost 20 years. Unfortunately, Crooks was a blueprint for law enforcement to beat its holding by alluding to the driver’s intoxication in the probable cause affidavit.

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