03/13/2012

Miami cop stopped by FHP could face more charges, jail

Officer Fausto Lopez's attorney says even a single charge would negatively impact the cop's career

By PoliceOne Staff

MIAMI — A Miami police officer stopped for speeding by an FHP trooper may more charges and possible jail if he declines a plea bargain.

Under a deal the state is offering Officer Fausto Lopez, the Miami police officer would plead no contest or guilty to one count of reckless driving — and pay court costs — in exchange for no jail time, according to the Miami Herald.

In October 2010, Florida Highway Patrol trooper Jane Watts stopped Miami police officer Fausto Lopez for driving at speeds of up to 120 mph. Watts drew her gun and handcuffed Lopez, which launched a media frenzy and an apparent feud between the departments.

The FHP determined Watts did not violate policy in stopping Lopez, whose career would suffer — even from a single reckless driving charge — if he takes the plea, attorney Al Milian said.

"It’s very difficult. As a police officer, he would face a whole host of discipline by his department," Milian said.

Prosecutor David Schulson said he will not drop the case. The next court proceeding is scheduled for March 20.

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