Are Out-of-State Drivers Targeted on I-80?

New data obtained by WOWT 6 News shows more out-of-state drivers are given tickets than Nebraskans since Colorado relaxed its marijuana laws the first of the year.

Omaha, NE–On Wednesday, WOWT 6 News asked drug attorney, Omaha’s own Daniel Stockmann, to comment on the recent targeting of out-of-state drivers by law enforcement, which has increased dramatically since the legalization and decriminalization of marijuana by Nebraska’s neighboring states. Stockmann, who has provided expert legal defense for the past 20 years and who has been nationally acknowledged as one of the state’s premiere lawyers, recognized the potential severity of the problem early on and turned his practice almost completely over to protecting the rights of those charged with drug related offenses, particularly those that took place on Interstate 80.

“I think it’s hard to get through Nebraska with out-of-state plates without getting a look from law enforcement,” he told reporters.
Stockmann readily admitted that many of those pulled over were 20-something male college students looking to bring back to campus to sell, but did not hesitate to point out that the majority of drivers who fall victim to overzealous law enforcement are just recreational users with a very small quantity on hand, or the severely ill who have a doctor’s prescription and need the plant for medicinal reasons.

“The conflict of law problems we’re having between Colorado and Nebraska is really highlighted when you talk about the medical marijuana client, such as the Coloradan with Crohn’s Disease who has a prescription for it and brings it back east to visit relatives are friends,” explained Stockmann. “She thinks she’s doing nothing wrong, like bringing Oxycontin or Hydrocodone with her like we would if we had a valid prescription. Only it’s illegal here.”

But the harassment enacted by law enforcement reaches much further than marijuana users and those bearing a Colorado license plate (i.e. “The Green Badge of Courage”) which totaled a staggering average of 16% of drug violation tickets issued to out-of-state drivers. A recent study found that for the first 6-months of 2015, 56% of the citations issued by troopers for possession and sale of drugs went to those with out-of-state licenses, a sharp increase from 2014’s numbers, in which out-of-state drivers accounted for 49% of drug stations.

“That’s why I changed my focus to that,” said Stockman. “We’re talking Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, New York, Indiana, New Jersey, Connecticut, Oklahoma, Georgia.”
In his time working criminal defense, Stockmann has also unveiled many frivolous and unconstitutional tactics used by Nebraskan law enforcement when combing the interstate. Police will find any reason to pull over a vehicle: a missing taillight, speeding, running a stop light, or any other minor traffic violation. This abuse of power was illustrated perfectly in the article when a Wisconsin man gave his account of police rummaging through his truck and trailer for hours, even calling out the drug dogs, all because he pulled off the interstate and parked on the base of an entrance ramp to walk his puppy.

Stockmann warns drivers to be aware of the stepped up police presence and drug checkpoint stops—especially in Hamilton County, Buffalo County and Holt County; although a stop may occur anywhere along I-80 or I-29 (the so-called “drug pipeline,” as police call it). If you are pulled over by the police and they do not arrest you for an offense, Stockmann advises that you do not have to answer all of their questions or consent to a search. The police need probable cause or a warrant to search your vehicle. Additionally, if the officer does not indicate you are in custody, politely inform them that you need to leave.

This top attorney calls for some restraint among law enforcement officials to not to pull a vehicle over merely because they have out-of-state license plates, or because of unconstitutional profiling practices. Stockmann believes that it is not only in the best interest of the citizens of Nebraska and their neighboring states, but also for Nebraska’s law enforcement departments with their small counties, modest budgets, and court systems that continue to clog at taxpayers’ expense.

If the evidence against you as a result of traffic stops on I-80 in Nebraska is overwhelming, you need to find a skilled drug attorney. Omaha, NE has a lot of options when it comes to legal representation, but attorney Dan Stockmann truly understands what it takes to successfully fight a drug possession case because he’s had over 20 years’ experience specialization in the field of drug defense. Fighting the case will mean meticulously scrutinizing investigation on Stockmann Law’s part, but unlike other lawyers who say they prepare for trial, they actually do and win because of it.