Officer asking for consent before handing back driver license turns consensual encounter into a “stop” and consent invalid

Joe Bodiford's Blog

Horne v. State, 38 Fla. L. Weekly D1155a (Fla. 2d DCA May 24, 2013):  Officer stopped Hornse while she was walking, ostensibly as a consensual encounter.  She gave him her driver’s license, and a computer search returned no active warrants. At some point during the encounter, the deputy asked to conduct a search of Horne that would include reaching into her pockets. Horne consented to the search.  He found controlled substances in her jacket pocket.

She filed a motion to suppress, arguing that the officer’s failure to return her driver’s license after completing the warrants check converted a consensual encounter into a detention and that therefore she could not have freely consented to the search of her person.

The FLorida criminal appeal court noted that there was competent, substantial evidence in the record to support the trial court’s determination that Horne voluntarily gave her license to the officer, and as…

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