If you have recently been charged with a drug offense, there is a very high chance that your arrest began as a traffic stop. Traffic stops give police an opportunity to talk to drivers and look around the cars for signs of drug possession or impairment.
Understand, though, that if a stop is illegal or unjustified, any evidence collected through the course of the stop can be suppressed. This is what happened recently with NBA player Mike Scott.
According to news reports, the athlete was accused of possessing marijuana and ecstasy after a traffic stop in another state. He was riding with his brother when an officer pulled them over.
The officer maintained that he pulled the SUV over for following another car too closely. He also said the driver, Scott’s brother, initially sped up to try and get away, but eventually stopped.
However, a thorough investigation revealed some serious problems with the police officer’s account. First, the timing and location of the stop did not line up with the allegations that the driver tried to flee.
It was also revealed that the officer had been forced to resign from two agencies prior to securing his current job.
The defense also scrutinized the officer’s arrest and stop records, and they painted a picture of racial profiling and illegal asset seizure without arrest. According to the defense, the data showed that the officer arrested far more minorities than white drivers, and he made roughly 1,400 stops but issued tickets in only eight cases.
The judge in the case agreed that the numbers supported claims that the officer was racially profiling drivers and perhaps conducting traffic stops to seize people’s assets. The judge also agreed that the accounts from Scott and his brother were more credible than the accounts from the officer.
As a result, the judge deemed the stop unjustified and threw out all the evidence collected from the stop. Even the prosecution agreed that the evidence was collected in violation of Scott’s constitutional rights and dismissed the charges.
This is a strong example of why it is so crucial to work with a defense attorney if you are facing drug charges after a traffic stop in Orlando. With legal support and resources, you can challenge unlawful procedures and rights’ violations to have charges reduced or dismissed.