Often people’s main interactions with police officers are in their cars — people may be stopped for minor traffic infractions or the police may be called following an accident. While many traffic stops are routine, some can lead to more serious consequences including drug charges. Police may decide to search a vehicle during a stop and can find illegal contraband.
In a recent case, a man was driving near the intersection of Morse Avenue and North Sheridan Road in Chicago when he made an illegal left turn. As a result of the turn, the man hit a Chicago Police Department SUV that had been on the road and injured the two officers inside.
Following the accident, police say that they searched the man’s car. They claim to have found two containers with more than 50 grams of marijuana inside of them. Police also allege that the man admitted to smoking marijuana in his vehicle.
The man has been charged with a variety of traffic related offenses including improper left turn, not having insurance and driving under the influence among others. More seriously, the man has also been charged with the manufacture or delivery of marijuana.
These drug charges are felonies and can carry serious penalties including a lengthy prison sentence. However, sometimes these penalties can be avoided if those facing drug charges defend against the allegations.
In cases where a police search has occurred — like in this case — defendants should make sure that the search was valid. In order for the police to have the authority to search a car they must have a search warrant or probable cause that illegal activity has occurred. Without proper authority to perform a search, any evidence found, including drugs, cannot be used against a person in court.
Source: Chicago Tribune, “Man faces drug charges after crashing into police car,” Carlos Sadovi, March 27, 2013