A man and woman from Louisiana are facing drug charges as a result of a recent traffic stop. Drug charges resulting from traffic stops are not uncommon, however, this particular incident stemmed from what some drivers may consider a minor offense. As opposed to a more serious offense like speeding or blowing through a stop sign, the officer in this incident conducted a traffic stop because the driver did not use a turn signal.
The man and woman were pulled over in Morgan City. According to reports, detectives could see marijuana and meth inside the vehicle, and the woman who was driving allegedly attempted to hide a bag of meth. Approximately $12,000 worth of meth was seized from the vehicle, along with marijuana, Neurontin and Ativan pills and $7,100 cash.
The woman and man both are facing drug charges including possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, possession of marijuana and obstruction of justice. Additionally, the woman was charged with possession of Ativan and Neurontin and failure to signal 100 feet prior to a turn. The man was also charged with transactions involving drug proceeds. There was no bond set for either individual.
Although the detectives allegedly saw the marijuana and meth in plain sight, more than just meth and marijuana were seized. One may question whether or not the other drugs discovered were lawfully seized. The United States Constitution guarantees citizens the right to due process, meaning police officers must use proper procedures in order to make a lawful search and seizure. Illegal substances in plain view upon a legal traffic stop are subject to seizure, but some limitations exist-such as an officer’s inability to forcibly access a vehicle’s trunk to search for illicit drugs.
In addition to targeting the lawfulness of a search and seizure, other defense strategies for drug charges include raising concerns about entrapment, alleging improper analyses of seized substances and challenging the facts or evidence in an effort to demonstrate the drugs belonged to another individual.
Source: WAFB, “Pair faces drug charges after deputies say meth, other drugs found in car,” Joshua Auzenne, June 5, 2014