Many drug arrests occur after an officer stops a driver for a run-of-the-mill traffic violation. A 24-year-old Illinois driver was recently pulled over for several speeding violations. The man apparently gave the officer a fake name, as he allegedly had outstanding warrants and was avoiding arrest. The officer searched the vehicle after he reportedly smelled marijuana, and found prepackaged cocaine and cannabis, as well as Oxycodone pills.
The man was then arrested and charged with numerous drug crimes, including unlawful delivery of cocaine, unlawful delivery of cocaine, and unlawful delivery of cannabis. He was also charged with obstructing identification, lack of a valid driver’s license, and speeding, as well as the two outstanding warrants. A 21-year-old female passenger was also cited for failing to properly restrain a child under the age of 8 in the vehicle.
The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects you from unreasonable searches and seizures in areas where you have a reasonable expectation of privacy. However, police officers are permitted to search your vehicle for drugs in certain situations. For example, the officer may search your car if they have probable cause to do so. This generally means that the officer had a reasonable belief that a crime had been committed. They can also search your vehicle if there are illegal substances or contraband in plain view. If an officer looks in the window and sees an illegal substance, they are legally permitted to seize that evidence.
Many people are arrested for drug crimes during a routine traffic stop. However, an arrest can be unlawful if it is based on evidence collected during an illegal search of your vehicle. A criminal defense attorney can evaluate your case and determine whether your rights were violated.