Being accused of trafficking narcotics means being charged with a felony and potential prison time. Fortunately, interstate drug stops are defensible. The first thing we look at in an interstate drug case is whether the traffic stop was properly conducted. Berry Law: Criminal Defense and Personal Injury Lawyers’s team of attorneys has seen a lot of cases where the traffic stop was unlawful. If you have questions about unlawful traffic stops in Nebraska, do not hesitate to connect with one of our knowledgeable interstate drug lawyers.
What is the Significance of Probable Cause during a Local Traffic Stop?
Police need what is known as “probable cause” to pull over a vehicle. In other words, law enforcement can’t pull over any vehicle for any reason. Police need probable cause to believe that a traffic violation has taken place. When they walk up to the car, they must tell the driver exactly what they believe the traffic violation was.
If you have out-of-state plates, it’s not unusual for you to be pulled over for a seemingly minor traffic violation, like following too closely or failing to signal more than 100 feet prior to a lane change. In some cases, like those involving speeding, probable cause is obvious. If you are traveling faster than the speed limit allows, that is a valid reason for a traffic stop, but some are not so valid.
Investigating whether a Traffic Stop Was Unlawful
A traffic stop is a seizure under the Fourth Amendment. If police unlawfully seize you, your remedy is the suppression of the evidence. This means any evidence found during an unlawful traffic stop gets suppressed. This isn’t like fighting a speeding ticket in court where the government has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the traffic violation occurred, but rather only that there was probable cause (i.e. the officer reasonably believed that a traffic violation took place). The attorneys at Berry Law: Criminal Defense and Personal Injury Lawyers fight these cases by looking for inconsistencies.
People in Nebraska often get pulled over for following too closely. For example, law enforcement will allege that someone is following less than two seconds apart, and we will ask how they determined that. They often claim to be driving with one hand and a stopwatch in the other, watching the car as it passes a defect in the road and timing the driver as they pass.
We will ask police to show us where the defect in the road was located, and they often can’t, or they’ll claim that the driver failed to signal more than 100 feet prior to the lane change.
The question then becomes, how did police know that? They may have been going 80 miles per hour when they were catching up to the defendant driver. Seeing out-of-state plates may have distracted them, so it’s crucial to look at all relevant factors to determine whether there really was probable cause to justify a traffic stop.
From Detention to Police Custody
If you are pulled over and police search your car and tell you that you can’t leave, are you under arrest? Do police have to Mirandize you? The answers to these questions depend on whether you are legally in police custody.
Being put in handcuffs doesn’t necessarily mean you are in police custody, but law enforcement may detain you on the side of the road. A roadside interrogation becomes custodial when you are under arrest.
Learn More about Unlawful Traffic Stops in Nebraska from an Attorney
A member of Berry Law: Criminal Defense and Personal Injury Lawyers’s legal team can effectively argue that your traffic stop was unlawfully prolonged. If issuing a warning or a ticket only takes a few minutes, then you shouldn’t have to talk to police for 30 minutes before they bring in a drug dog. These are the details we have to examine when defending interstate drug cases and unlawful traffic stops in Nebraska.
If you were charged with a crime related to an unlawful traffic stop, you should contact an experienced defense lawyer to determine the best course of action in your case. Contact a skilled attorney at Berry Law: Criminal Defense and Personal Injury Lawyers today to schedule a confidential consultation and take the next step in fighting your criminal charges.