Being pulled over on suspicion of having drugs in your vehicle can be a frightening experience, and all you may be thinking about is the potential for getting arrested and sent to prison. But remember, you haven’t even been arrested yet, much less tried and convicted! If you act calmly, know your rights and exercise them, you may not avoid arrest, but you can place yourself in the best position for a positive outcome in the end. You actions and behavior during a traffic stop can help or hurt your chances at trial. Read below for more information about getting pulled over for drugs in North Carolina or Henderson, and contact North Carolina drug crime lawyer Damon Chetson if you have been arrested in Vance or Wake County.
Stay Calm and Remember Your Rights
As the police approach your vehicle, the best position to be in is seated with your hands on the steering wheel. You may want to get your driver’s license and registration out to be ready for the police, but your actions could look like you were hiding drugs or retrieving a weapon, either of which might put the police on heightened alert or give them reason to order you out of the car and search your vehicle. You may naturally be nervous, but there is no need to make the police nervous as well.
The police may ask you if you have any drugs in the car, or they may spot drugs or paraphernalia in the vehicle and arrest you on the spot. When questioned, you don’t need to admit or say anything, and it is also not generally helpful to offer some explanation for the drugs or paraphernalia. There is not really any way you will talk yourself out of an arrest; more likely you would only be giving the police more grounds to arrest you, along with statements they can use against you at trial or to force a guilty plea.
If no drugs or paraphernalia are in plain sight, the police will want to search your car. In most instances, the police need a warrant or probable cause to conduct a search. If they don’t have these, they may simply ask you for permission to search your vehicle. It may sound like you don’t really have a choice, or you might think that refusing to cooperate makes you look guilty, but the truth is that you have a Constitutional right to refuse consent to a search, and you cannot be punished for exercising that right. In most cases, there is not anything good that will come from letting the police search your car.
Police officers are well-trained in search and seizure law, so they know if they are permitted to conduct a search or not. If the police order you out of the vehicle while they conduct a search (of you, your belongings, or your vehicle), it isn’t helpful to resist or argue. If the police conduct an illegal search, your attorney will bring up this point at the appropriate time and fight to get the charges dropped or the evidence suppressed.
Help is Available after a North Carolina Drug Stop or Arrest
You can help yourself best during a traffic stop by being calm, polite and respectful, and complying with police requests as much as possible, without giving up important rights such as consenting to a search when you don’t have to or answering questions that might incriminate you. Put yourself in the best position to fight a drug arrest, and contact Damon Chetson in North Carolina for a free consultation on your case with an aggressive and effective Wake County criminal defense attorney.