Atlanta Drug Offense Attorney
Drug arrests are one of the most common results of police traffic stops in Georgia. In fact, police officers often look for excuses to pull over cars when they suspect someone in the car might have drugs. Illegal drugs are also often found during police searches of homes, apartments, dormitories, and other living spaces and sometimes even in backpacks and school lockers. If you have been arrested and accused of illegally possessing any kind of drug or marijuana, it is important that you get an experienced drug defense attorney on your team right away.
Most drug possession cases are the result of a police search. If the police search was conducted unlawfully then they may not be able to use the drugs they discovered during the search as evidence against you and usually results in a dismissal of the charges. Both the U.S. Constitution and the Georgia Constitution and state law prohibit police officers from conducting searches of people, homes, vehicles, and other places where a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy without meeting certain criteria.
Unless you consented to the search, then the police officer usually will be required to show that he at least had probable cause to justify the search. In many, but not all, cases the police officer is required to present their evidence showing probable cause to a judge and obtain a search warrant before any search can be conducted. When a search is conducted under the authority of a search warrant, the search should be limited in scope to searching for the items listed in the warrant at the place described in the warrant.
But not all searches require a warrant. Vehicle searches are probably the biggest exception to the warrant requirement. Because of how easily vehicles can be moved from place to place and because they are generally perceived as being far less private than a home, the United States Supreme Court ruled many years ago that vehicles can be searched during traffic stops without a search warrant. But that does not mean that a cop can search any vehicle at any time during any stop. The officer still has to have probable cause to justify a warrantless search of a vehicle.
Fortunately, most traffic stops are captured on video nowadays either from the officer’s in-car camera, body camera, or both. That enables an experienced criminal defense attorney to review the stop to see if the officer actually had probable cause to conduct any search and assess all possible defenses to any drug charges arising against the driver or any passengers.
Body cameras have for the first time enabled criminal defense attorneys to get an insider’s view of searches of homes and other areas that were previously only described in written reports. That can provide valuable evidence to show whether the search was properly limited to the scope permitted by the warrant or whether it exceeded the scope permitted by law.