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Fighting drug possession charges after a traffic stop

When you face drug possession charges after a traffic stop, what the officers found is less important than where and how they found it. Depending on the situation, a conviction is not a foregone conclusion. You may have options to fight the charges.

Consider the nature of the stop and the details of the discovery to assess your defense options.

Why were you stopped?

The reason for your traffic stop can play a role in the legitimacy of any search that happened. A traffic stop for a broken taillight, for example, is not probable cause to search your car. However, erratic driving and violation of traffic laws may lead to suspicion of driving under the influence.

Was there probable cause for the search?

There must be probable cause or consent to search your car. If the police find drugs in your car without probable cause or consent, the search may be unlawful. If you gave consent, that may introduce the argument that you would not have permitted a search if you were knowingly in possession of drugs.

Where were the drugs found?

If you were driving and the drugs were in the backseat, under the passenger seat, or somewhere near where another passenger was sitting, that can cast doubt on possession. When drugs are anywhere other than on your person or in your seat, reasonable doubt may play a role.

It is important to understand your right to a defense, even when the police have tangible evidence. The effects of a drug conviction can be far-reaching, so take the opportunity to fight the charges.