Whenever the police pull you over, you risk being removed from the vehicle, searched, and detained. Many drug charges stem from traffic stops.
When Can Police Search Your Car After a Traffic Stop?
Under Ohio law, police can only search your vehicle during a routine traffic stop if they have probable cause to do so. For example, suppose the police stopped you for speeding, smelled what appeared to be marijuana, and spotted a clear baggie with a dried green substance on your dashboard. In that case, they have probable cause to search you and your car.
Remember, you are under no legal obligation to give police permission to search your vehicle. It is your right under the Fourth Amendment to be protected from unreasonable search and seizure.
Penalties You’ll Face if Convicted of a Drug Crime in Cincinnati
If the police found drugs or paraphernalia in your vehicle, you could face serious drug charges. Drug charges can be misdemeanors or felonies depending on several factors, such as the type and amount of the drug in question.
Drug Charges Vary from Misdemeanors to Felonies
It’s a fourth-degree misdemeanor for possession of fewer than 100 grams of marijuana, considered the bulk amount for marijuana. Your punishment would likely be a $150 fine but no jail time.
It’s a fifth-degree felony for possession of less than the bulk amount of cocaine, punishable by up to a year in jail and fines of up to $2,500.
You might also face more severe drug charges such as possession with intent to sell, distribution, cultivation, or trafficking. Penalties this harsh require a comprehensive legal defense.
Defending Cincinnati Drug Crime Charges
If you were stopped for a traffic violation and the police had no reason to believe criminal activity, they do not have probable cause. If the officers insist on searching you or your vehicle, an attorney will seek to find any evidence from an illegal search and seizure suppressed.
An attorney could also argue that the drugs belonged to another person.
Contact a Drug Lawyer in Cincinnati
Were you charged with a drug crime after a routine traffic stop? Are you unsure of what steps to take to clear your name? Reach out to an experienced Cincinnati drug lawyer at Luftman, Heck & Associates for help.
Schedule your no-cost, risk-free consultation when you call our office at 513-338-1890 or use our online contact form.