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A traffic stop alone does not give police the right to search you

Many drug charges are brought in connection with routine traffic stops. However, a minor traffic violation does not automatically give police the right to search the vehicle or the driver. If police conduct a warrantless search, then any evidence seized during the search could be suppressed.

A routine traffic stop in Orange County recently led to the arrest of an Orlando man. According to police, the 27-year-old consented to a search of his vehicle after he was pulled over for an alleged window-tint violation. Police reportedly seized an undisclosed amount of heroin from the vehicle.

Depending on the kind and quantity of the substance in question, drug charges can be more or less serious. In this case, authorities say the heroin was divided into seven larger plastic bags and 20 smaller plastic bags. The young man is charged with possession of heroin with intent to sell and heroin trafficking. These are very serious charges that require a strong criminal defense to protect the rights and freedom of the accused.

Police must have probable cause to search a person or his or her vehicle, and an alleged traffic violation alone does not give police the right to search you or your property. Unfortunately, officers often overstep their bounds in this regard. A thorough investigation of the facts of the case is necessary to protect an accused individual from the negative consequences resulting from a police officer's failure to follow proper procedure.

The circumstances of every drug charge are different, and individuals accused of drug-related offenses should explore the full range of defense options. You can learn more about fighting drug charges at our criminal defense website.

Source: Orlando Sentinel, "Tinted windows lead to heroin trafficking charges for motorist," Henry Pierson Curtis, Aug. 22, 2014

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