Columbia Drug Traffic Stop Lawyer
That feeling of apprehension everyone experiences when they see red and blue flashing lights in the rear view mirror can become exponentially more gut wrenching if a simple traffic stop evolves into drug charges. Instead of simply paying a fine, you may now be facing serious prison time. If failing to use your blinker led to drug sniffing dogs ruining your day, you definitely need the hard-hitting Columbia drug traffic stop lawyers at the Law Offices Todd K. Mohink, PA on your side.
To be clear, an officer must have probable cause to pull you over in the first place. That means you were witnessed violating a traffic law, with faulty equipment, or in some way you caused the officer to have a reasonable cause to stop you.
Is it a Legal Search?
What about searching your car? The Fourth Amendment guarantees you the right to unreasonable searches, although vehicles have fewer protections than your home. A 2009 Supreme Court decision limits law enforcement’s ability to conduct warrantless vehicle searches to three key scenarios:
- Probable cause search: When officers have reasonable suspicion that there is evidence of a crime or a weapon in the vehicle;
- Search incident to arrest: Your immediate vicinity may be searched if you are being placed under arrest;
- Inventory search: If your car is being impounded, the contents of your vehicle will be inventoried for liability purposes.
Your Rights in a Traffic Stop
As always, you have the right to remain silent. Other than providing your driver’s license, registration and insurance information, you are not required to answer questions. If the officer asks for permission to search your vehicle, it means there is no legal basis for a search. If there were reasonable cause to conduct a search, the officer would simply do it without asking for your consent. You have the right to say no.
If you were pulled over for a legitimate reason, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that police do not need reasonable suspicion to bring out a drug sniffing dog. However, the court found that you may not be detained for any longer than the original traffic stop would warrant in order to have the dog sniff your vehicle. On the other hand, if the officer has reasonable cause to detain you, the search may drag out long enough for the dog to do its work.
Defending Against Drug Stops
Without a doubt, the complexities of state and federal law underscore the importance of having a sharp, reputable attorney who’s willing to dedicate time and resources to your case. At the Law Offices Todd K. Mohink, PA, you’ll get nothing less. Trust our experienced team to vigorously defend you and secure the best possible outcomes. For a confidential consultation, contact our Columbia drug traffic stop lawyers at 410-964-0050.