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Enforcement Type: Primary and Secondary Offenses Explained

When pulled over by a law enforcement officer, it is important to know your rights. In order to know your rights, you should understand the differences between a primary and a secondary offense.

Aprimary offense is an act that allows a police officer to pull a vehicle over and give the driver a ticket. In the state of Florida, these violations are outlined in Chapters316, 320, and322 of the Florida Statues. Primary offenses include but are not limited to tailgating another vehicle, running a red light or stop sign, speeding and front seat adult or minor not wearing a seatbelt.

On the other hand,secondary offenses are acts that can only be charged once a driver has already been lawfully stopped. In short, a law enforcement officer is not authorized to stop a vehicle for committing a secondary offense, but may issue a citation for a secondary offense if the vehicle has been lawfully stopped for violation of a primary offense. Police officers stop drivers all the time for primary offenses so they have a basis to perform further investigation. For example, a police officer may run your tag and see that the driver’s license (for the owner of that vehicle) is restricted to business purposes only due to a DUI charge. He/she will then use a primary offense as a basis to stop the vehicle in the hope that further investigation will provide a basis for criminal charges (for example driving unlawfully on a business purposes only restricted license). Secondary offenses in Florida include texting while driving and illegal window tint on a vehicle, among other things.

It is in the best interest of all drivers to know what constitutes a primary or secondary offense. Know your rights so that law enforcement does not trample on them.

In the event that you do find yourself in need of aggressive representation in a traffic violation or ticket case, contact The Wiseman Law Firm. Your first consultation is free!

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