Illegal Drug Paraphernalia Found After You Give Consent to Search
The law protects you from unreasonable searches of your person or personal property. In Arizona, most of the time you’ll be protected if an officer searches you without a warrant. The exception to this is when you give your consent to have your car searched, resulting in the discovery of some sort of illegal activity. You might find yourself in a situation where you need an Arizona DUI attorney.
One reason your car can be searched without your consent or a warrant is when an officer has probable cause and arrests you. In this circumstance, an officer can inspect your vehicle. Another instance is when an officer is pursuing a person of interest for a serious crime, the officer can search their car or home for more information.
But if you fall outside of these circumstances and provided an officer consent to search your vehicle, resulting in drug paraphernalia being found, you will need a strong defense for your case. Let’s review another similar incident.
Arizona DUI case involving drug paraphernalia and search consent
The defendant was pulled over for not having his license plate illuminated properly. During the traffic stop, the defendant admitted to having a suspended license. The officer had the defendant follow him to the patrol care for a citation.
Once the citation was completed, the officer walked the defendant back to his car. The officer then asked the defendant if he could search the vehicle, to which the defendant said yes. During the vehicle search, the police officer found narcotics, which brought about new charges over the regular traffic citation the defendant had received.
When the case went to court, the defendant requested that the evidence be suppressed from the case because it was discovered well after the traffic stop should have been completed. The defendant argued that the search was illegal on the grounds that the officer had detained the defendant for too long, dragging out a regular traffic stop.
The court’s ruling on the DUI and drug paraphernalia charges
The court evaluated the request to have the search findings suppressed. In their evaluation, they recognized that the police officer is supposed to end a traffic stop and allow a person to go about their regular activity once the citation is complete.
The court ruled that the traffic stop did end once the officer completed the citation and asked the defendant if he could search his vehicle. Since there was no reason for the officer to think that the defendant had committed a crime or any signs of suspicion, the court ruled that a search was only legal if both parties agreed to it.
Ultimately, the court ruled that because the defendant gave his consent to have his car searched, the findings from that search were legal and admissible in the case. Because the officer had returned the defendant’s license and registration to him, the officer was in no way holding the defendant hostage and requiring the search to be permitted to leave the scene.
However, the court did acknowledge that the defendant had not been told that he was free to leave. Despite not being informed he was free to go, the court determined that the search was permissible because the defendant freely gave his consent, which made it valid.
Hiring an Arizona DUI attorney
No matter the circumstances surrounding your DUI charges, an Arizona DUI attorney can help you defend yourself and your case. An experienced attorney knows where to pressure the courts and ask the tough questions to ensure a fair trial.
Click here for information on possession of prescription drugs in Arizona.