Traffic stops can be an occasion for serious charges including drug charges for people in Wisconsin. Searches that stem from traffic stops can give rise to charges that not only relate to someone’s driving but also to drugs they may have in their vehicle. Many people are unaware of their rights in relation to searches conducted during traffic stops, especially because those rights are limited in comparison to those enjoyed in one’s home.
In one December 2017 case, an 18-year-old from De Pere was stopped by Wisconsin State Troopers on U.S. Highway 10 in the town of Fremont. He was stopped for speeding, but the charges he is facing are unrelated to the operation of his vehicle. After a search during the traffic stop, the police found cocaine, ecstasy, cannabis and prescription drugs. In the trunk of the car, the police found 6 ounces of cannabis, six ecstasy pills, seven bags containing cocaine and 75 alprazolam pills. Alprazolam is a medication used for anxiety treatment. The police also stated that they found a $100 bill with white powder.
After the traffic stop, the driver was arrested and handed a variety of drug charges. During a traffic stop, police can search a vehicle if the driver consents or if they have probable cause to suspect that there may be evidence in the vehicle. For searches based on consent, the motorist has the right to say no. However, if drug-related materials are visible in plain sight in the vehicle, the police may be able to justify a complete search for drugs and related items.
When dealing with drug charges and traffic stop searches, it is important to have a criminal defense attorney. In some cases, a challenge can be made to the stop itself as being made without the requisite reasonable suspicion.