Picture this: you’re pulled over for speeding, or some other minor traffic mishap, and the officer looks in your window to speak with you. He sees a car filled with boxes, trash bags, and other assorted items. Is that officer going to be a bit curious as to what could be under all of that stuff? In some cases, yes.
Law enforcement officers, much like you, want each and every traffic stop to go smoothly without incident. However, some officers tend to be on high alert for drugs or weapons, and will suspect every person they pull over possesses something illegal (even though you probably don’t). Couple that with recent robberies or drug activity in the area you are driving through, and the officer may assume that every single driver is doing something illegal. It’s often just paranoia paired with vigilance, but it can hurt you legally.
If an officer pulls you over and suspects illegal activity, he may ask to search your car. You should always say “no.” He may say that if you just let him search he won’t charge you with a crime — this is a lie, and he’s allowed to trick you with it. Ultimately, you should NEVER consent to a search, but make sure you refuse politely.
Let’s say you have an empty beer can in a garbage bag in the backseat you intended to take to the recycling plant — this is technically an open container, and you could be charged. Or maybe you have a burned joint from months ago with just a trace of marijuana — you could be charged with possession of marijuana.
Keeping your car clean will not only remind you to keep contraband out of your vehicle, but it may also make an officer less likely to think you are hiding drugs, a weapon, or stolen items.
If your car was searched in Wake or Durham County and officers did charge you with a misdemeanor, contact the criminal defense lawyers at Guirguis Law for a free consultation on your charge. We can be reached 919-874-1445 or firstname.lastname@example.org.