Can the police search my car for drugs in a Massachusetts drug arrests during a traffic stop?
Those charged with a Massachusetts Drug offense, often have the question of whether a charge of intent to distribute can arise out of a search of the car during a traffic stop. The issue of when a search of a vehicle is proper is a common issue in a Massachusetts drug offense.
Massachusetts Drug Distribution Crimes come under Chapter 94C Section 32A for distribution of Class B Drugs. Other drugs fall under different section of Chapter 94C.
- A traffic stop involves the following legal issues in a Massachusetts Drug Arrest.
A traffic stop, is generally just that. If the officer issues you a citation and has no basis to suspect that you are armed and dangerous or involved in criminal activity, the officer cannot search you or your car. Often, police officers will use a minor traffic stop as a pretext to ask you questions, try to find drugs and justify a search your car. Under a recent case of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, we can request a hearing to challenge whether the stop was just a pretexts to look for drugs. Many times police will profile drivers based on race. We can challenge any racial profiling during your traffic stop in Court.An Illegal Search or Seizure can result in your case getting dismissed.
Should you have been ordered from your car: Police need a basis to have you get out of your car.
Under the Massachusetts Constitution, an officer making a routine traffic stop cannot under an individual out of the car. In Massachusetts an exit order from an officer requires the officer to have a reasonable fear for his or her own safety or probable cause to believe evidence of criminal activity will be found in the car.
One line of defense in a stop based on a traffic infraction is to challenge:
- The basis of the stop
- The legal basis of the exit order.
If there is a basis for the exit order, a police officer will not have authority to conduct a full search of the vehicle unless there is probable cause to believe the vehicle contains evidence of criminal activity.Was the search of your Car legal?
Searches of a vehicle fall under what is known as the automobile exception to the warrant requirement. Since automobiles are mobile, there is a lesser expectation of privacy; however, a car is still protected under the Fourth Amendment meaning that a police officer needs probable cause to believe your car contains evidence of criminal activity prior to a search. If you are arrested, an officer may also search your car under what is known as the inventory search exception to the warrant requirement.
If we can prove that the police conducted an illegal search and are able to prove it in court, then the evidence against you may be thrown out. This may lead to a reduction or a dismissal of your drug charges. If you have questions about a Drug arrest please call or text at 781-686-5924 to discuss your case.