Can the Police Search My Car for Drugs?
Nevada Criminal Defense Attorney Assisting Clients in Las Vegas
Motorists have protections against unlawful searches of their cars, including for drugs. If your vehicle was searched by the police and they found drugs, your Fourth Amendment rights may have been violated. You deserve to have an aggressive yet compassionate Nevada criminal defense lawyer on your side.
Protections Against Illegal Search and Seizure Under the Fourth Amendment
Every person in Nevada–whether a resident or a tourist in Las Vegas–has protections against unlawful search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. What this means is that the police must have what is known as “reasonable suspicion” in order to stop your car. And the police cannot lawfully search your car unless they have lawfully stopped your car. While reasonable suspicion can seem subjective (meaning that it depends largely upon whether the police officer believed she or he had reasonable suspicion for stopping the car), it is important for all motorists to know that a law enforcement official is not permitted to stop your car unless there is reasonable suspicion. Keep in mind that if you violate a traffic law, this give the police a reason to stop the car.
Now onto whether a search is lawful. Often, the police might ask you if they can search your car once you have been stopped. You have the right to say no—or to decline—the search. If you agree to a search, then the police are allowed to search your car for drugs.
If you say no when asked if the police can search your car, or if the police do not ask, then they can only search your car if there is what is known as “probable cause.” The police must see something that leads them to believe that there could be drugs in your car, giving them lawful authority to search.
Possible Outcomes When the Police Search Your Car for Drugs
If the police do search your car and find drugs or drug-related materials or paraphernalia, you could be charged with any of the following types of offenses:
- Drug possession: this is typically the least serious type of drug crime, and it involves a situation in which a person has a controlled substance in his or her possession or under his or her control;
- Drug trafficking or selling: it is unlawful to transport or sell controlled substances, and this offense typically is charged in connection with a possession offense;
- Drug manufacturing: it is unlawful to manufacture controlled substances, while includes growing drugs;
- Drug counterfeits: it is unlawful to sell any substance as if it is a controlled substance—in other words, a counterfeit substance (such as selling oregano as if it were marijuana); and
- Drug paraphernalia: not only is it unlawful to possess, transport, sell, or manufacture a controlled substance, but it is also unlawful to own certain devices or tools that are designed for the use or manufacture of drugs (such as scales, pipes, and other instruments).
Learn How a Las Vegas Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
You should not have to fight the charges against you on your own. If you have been charged with any drug-related crime involving a substance other than marijuana, you are likely facing felony charges. An aggressive Las Vegas criminal attorney can assist with your case. Contact Lobo Law today.