Because Nebraska shares a border with Colorado, it’s common for Nebraskan state troopers to be on the watch for marijuana traveling across state lines. Under federal law, transporting any marijuana from Colorado into Nebraska is a felony. Omaha transportation lawyer Daniel Stockmann often works on cases in which these people have been wrongfully searched or otherwise violated during a traffic stop. As this is a common occurrence, it’s important to know the rights you’re entitled to in these situations.
What is Probable Cause for Vehicle Searches?
According to Legal Information Institute, probable cause is defined as “a requirement found in the Fourth Amendment that must usually be met before police make an arrest, conduct a search, or receive a warrant.” Because the Fourth Amendment does not clearly define probable cause, it is often up to courts to interpret the reason for probable cause in an arrest. It can be a gray area, but understanding examples of probable cause can help you if you find yourself in one of these situations.
If police officers make a routine traffic stop and find probable cause to search the vehicle for drugs, they may do so. Probable cause includes seeing drug paraphernalia, smelling drugs, or viewing drugs in plain sight. This can even come down to seeing loose marijuana particles in a cup holder. Admitting to having marijuana in your vehicle also warrants an officer to conduct a search.
Violations of Probable Cause Can Lead to Drug-Related Arrests
Probable cause can lead to a drug-related arrest in many circumstances. This happens especially frequently in Nebraska along Interstate 80, a hotspot for drug trafficking and the movement of marijuana across state lines. Law enforcement officials are motivated to stop as many vehicles as possible in hopes of catching those in possession of marijuana or other narcotics.
Because there is heavy pressure on law enforcement to catch these crimes in action, traffic stops happen very frequently. During these stops, it is not unheard of for police officers to mishandle the situation, especially when it comes to vehicle searches. There are many times that police may stop a driver for something minor that wouldn’t normally wouldn’t warrant a stop. For example, police may stop someone for going just several miles over the speed limit or for switching lanes. Though these are not truly valid reasons for a traffic stop, it’s important to stay calm if you are the one stopped. Be aware and as cooperative as possible. Remember that anything you say may be used against you.
Keep in mind that you have the right to not consent to a vehicle search. People often get tricked into consenting to a vehicle search because they feel intimidated, scared, or just don’t know that they can refuse. Stay calm and simply say that you do not consent to a search. If an officer proceeds with a search of your vehicle anyway, evidence that they find may be thrown out if you are brought to court.
Retain Trusted Omaha Transportation Lawyer Daniel Stockmann
If you feel you’ve been wrongfully accused, illegally searched in a drug-related arrest, or someone you know is facing a similar problem, contact Omaha transportation lawyer Daniel Stockmann. His experience spans over a decade and he has had countless successes in defending those whose rights have been violated. For more information, fill out the form on this page or call (844) 906-0641 today.