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What happens if an officer finds drugs after a traffic stop?

On Behalf of | Mar 31, 2021 | Drug Charges

Illinois officers pull drivers over every day for a variety of reasons. In some cases, they end up finding drugs on the person or in the vehicle. If you’ve found yourself in this scenario, it’s a good idea to understand what happens next.

Know your rights

Just because an officer pulls you over, it doesn’t mean that they can instantly search your vehicle. You have the constitutional right to be free from any unreasonable search of your property. Typically, a police officer will need to obtain a search warrant to search your vehicle.

There are a few exceptions to this. One of the most common is if you give the officer permission to do so. Police officers are trained to make it seem as if you don’t have a choice in the matter. However, you do. You shouldn’t agree to a voluntary search of your vehicle.

Probable cause is a necessity

Apart from a voluntary search, a police officer may search your vehicle if they have probable cause. Probable cause means that there is viable evidence that indicates that you have committed a crime. When it comes to drug charges, the officer will have to prove that they indeed had probable cause to search a vehicle.

If they can’t provide probable cause, then all the evidence they collected is considered invalid. Some examples of probable cause include an officer sees the drugs in plain sight, they’re informed by an eyewitness that there are drugs in the vehicle, or they see the driver hide drugs.

Traffic stops happen every day, and most of the time, they are simply routine. However, when illegal drugs are present in a vehicle, it can result in extra charges for the driver. If you’re currently facing drug charges, it’s advisable to contact an attorney to review your case.