People come from all over the world to visit Miami’s white sandy beaches and to enjoy some of the best nightlife in the country. Due to its hot nightspots, one can imagine how Miami’s cops would be drawn to the area. After all, bar fights and drunk driving have to be a nightly occurrence.
But how far can the cops go to make arrests? Can they park outside of bars and wait for patrons to trickle out after closing time? Can they hunt down drunk drivers and prey upon the unsuspecting as they leave drinking establishments? Can the cops cherry-pick people as they drive away from bars and nightclubs?
Police Need ‘Probable Cause’ to Stop You
“Can the police park outside of bars and follow people home as they leave?” I hear this question all the time. In a word – no. The police are NOT supposed to park outside of bars and follow people home as they leave, but it happens all the time. If this practice was encouraged, can you imagine what it would do to local businesses? Nobody would drive to bars and the owners of these establishments would lose a ton of money. They might even go out of business if this practice was allowed.
In order for law enforcement to initiate a legal traffic stop, they must have received a tip from a concerned citizen that the driver may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or the driver must have violated a traffic law; for example, the driver must have run a red light, blown through a stop sign, or they must have been speeding. Simply driving away from a bar is NOT probable cause to initiate a traffic stop.
Miami is home to the Regent Cocktail Club, the Broken Shaker, the MO Bar & Lounge, the Corner, and Sweet Liberty Drinks & Supply Company among other popular bars and nightclubs. These establishments are magnets for law enforcement trolling for drunk and drugged drivers. If you were arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) after leaving one of Miami’s bars, I urge you to contact my office to find out if you were possibly the target of an unlawful police stop.