If you’re a resident of an American county or have visited one recently, you probably know the local sheriff. These law enforcement officials are charged with keeping their county safe and help to do so by stopping motorists who appear to be driving unsafely and issuing them tickets if they break any traffic laws. In most counties, as in all 50 states, law enforcement officers must have probable cause before they can pull over a driver for violating the rules of the road. A sheriff can’t just pull anyone over because he thinks they might be up to something nefarious. So what does that mean for you? Are you safe from the sheriff at all times? Let this article answer your questions about whether or not a sheriff can pull over a motorist. If you’ve ever wondered about what rights drivers have when it comes to being pulled over by law enforcement in general, read on for more details.
Can A Sheriff Pull You Over?
No, a sheriff cannot pull you over. Sheriffs are not police officers and do not have the same authority.
What Does It Mean To Be Pulled Over?
When a sheriff pulls you over, he’s asking for your information and writing you a ticket. If you’ve broken a traffic law, you’ll be given a citation that explains the alleged violation and what you must do to correct it. If you haven’t done anything wrong, the sheriff might ask you some questions or tell you that you’re free to go. If you’ve broken a law, the officer will likely issue a citation, and you’ll have to go to court to contest the violation. If you are stopped by a sheriff, you should always obey the officer’s instructions and supply your license, registration, and proof of insurance.
When A Sheriff Can Pull You Over
1. Driving With a Suspended License
A sheriff can pull you over for driving with a suspended license. He can also pull you over if he sees you driving without a license or without one that’s valid for the vehicle you’re driving. If he pulls you over, he must issue a ticket if he believes that your license is suspended or invalid.
2. Driving Without Proof of Insurance
A sheriff can also pull you over if he sees that your car isn’t registered, or if you don’t have proof of insurance on the vehicle. If the sheriff claims that your car is not registered and gives you a citation, he must give it to the court within 15 days of the incident. If your car is unregistered and uninsured when stopped by the sheriff, then he has to send it to an impound lot immediately after writing up your citation.
3. Driving Without Proper Permits or Licenses
If a sheriff stops you for any reason other than speeding, running red lights, failing to signal lane changes, going through red lights (even when there are no cameras), failing to yield to an emergency vehicle, drinking alcohol while operating a motor vehicle, illegal possession of drugs and/or paraphernalia in your vehicle (even if none are visible), or any other traffic violation that would be punishable by law in another state but not in Florida, then you won’t be arrested unless the officer has probable cause to believe that you’ve broken some other law.
4. Driving Without Insurance
If you’re stopped by a sheriff for driving without insurance, the officer can either issue you a citation or let you go. If the officer issues you a citation, the ticket will have to be sent to the court within 15 days of the incident. If he lets you go, he has to send your citation to an impound lot, where it will stay until you pay for and/or fix any damage caused by your errant driving.
5. Driving With Suspended Registration or Driver’s License
If a sheriff stops you for driving with a suspended registration or driver’s license, he can give you a ticket that will have to be sent to court within 15 days of the incident. If he lets you go without issuing a citation, then he has to send your ticket and all other information related to your stop and/or arrest on file with the court within 30 days of the incident. He must also notify the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) if there are any outstanding warrants against someone involved in your arrest or stopped vehicle incident (e.g., unpaid traffic tickets).
When A Sheriff Cannot Pull You Over?
- When there is no reason for the Sheriff to Pull You Over
- If you are driving with a valid license and registration, you may not be pulled over by a sheriff. If you are stopped by a sheriff for any other reason, you have the right to refuse to take the field sobriety test or submit to any other tests that lead the officer to believe that your driving is impaired.
- If You Have a Valid License and Registration to drive your vehicle, it must be registered and insured (or certified) in Florida. That means if you’re stopped by a sheriff for driving without insurance or registration, he cannot give you a ticket unless he has probable cause to believe that your car isn’t registered and insured in Florida. He can only arrest you if he has probable cause that you’ve violated some other law out of state or have committed another crime while driving your vehicle.
- If You Are Stopped By A Sheriff For Any Other Reason Other Than Speeding, Running Red Lights, Failing To Signal Lane Changes, Going Through Red Lights (Even When There Are No Cameras), Failing To Yield To Emergency Vehicles, Drinking Alcohol While Operating A Vehicle Or Illegal Possession Of Drugs And/Or Paraphernalia In Your Vehicle (Even If None Are Visible) Or Any Other Traffic Violation That Would Be Punishable By Law In Another State But Not In Florida Then He Cannot Arrest You Unless He Has Probable Cause That You Have Committed Another Crime While Driving Or Are Under Investigation For Any Crime In Florida.
- If You Drive Your Vehicle On A Public Road And Are Stopped By A Sheriff For Violating Traffic Law Then He Cannot Arrest You Unless He Has a Probable Cause That You Have Committed Another Crime While Driving Or Are Under Investigation For Any Crime In Florida. If a sheriff stops you for speeding on a public road, then he cannot arrest you unless he has probable cause that you have committed another crime while driving or are under investigation for any crime in Florida.
- If You Are Pulled Over By A Sheriff On Private Property Or At An Airport Then He Cannot Arrest You Unless He Has Probable Cause That You Have Committed Another Crime While Driving Or Are Under Investigation For Any Crime In Florida. If a sheriff pulls over your car on private property or at an airport and demands that your driver’s license be displayed, then he cannot arrest you unless he has probable cause that you have committed another crime while driving or are under investigation for any crime in Florida.
When you’re behind the wheel, you’re responsible for knowing and following all traffic laws. However, being aware of when and why a sheriff can pull you over can help you to avoid tickets and stay safe on the road. If you have any questions about what to do if you’re pulled over, visit our guides to traffic stop circumstances or what to do if your car is towed. If you’re interested in becoming a sheriff, you can apply for a job in your county’s sheriff’s office or police department. Most sheriff’s offices require that you be at least 21 years old, hold a high school diploma, and have at least some experience in law enforcement.