Two Virginia residents are behind bars right now after a routine traffic stop led to the discovery of a small amount of drugs.
An officer noticed a "suspicious" car near the exit on a road. The officer asked if he could search the vehicle and the couple agreed.
Inside the vehicle, the officer allegedly found:
- Around 29 grams of meth, broken down into smaller doses for resale
- About 30 syringes
- An unknown quantity of LSD
- Two pieces of "gravel, "an extremely potent drug that goes by several different street names
Both of the individuals in the car are now facing about 10 felony charges each, including having drug paraphernalia in their possession, possession of the various narcotics (each of which carries its own potential sentence) and the intent to distribute the drugs that were bagged for resale.
If an officer asks to look inside your purse, jacket, backpack, vehicle or home, you are under no obligation to do so unless the officer has a warrant.
From a legal standpoint, there are only two good reasons for an officer to ask permission to search a vehicle:
- The officer didn't have enough probable cause to look in the vehicle without the occupants' permission and knew that he couldn't get a search warrant with the information that he did have.
- The officer figured he already had probable cause for the search but wanted the defendants to give permission for the search so that it couldn't be challenged later in court.
However, you give up your right to dispute that officer's actions the moment that you agree to the search. If you're ever in a situation where you could be charged with drug possession, call an attorney before you do anything else.
Source: Birstol Herald Courier, "Two people face drug charges in Washington County, VA.," Robert Sorrell, Aug. 24, 2017