What to Do If You’re Pulled Over
Fewer arrests might seem like good news, but there are still plenty of marijuana arrests being made in the Panhandle — and most are happening during routine traffic stops.
In August, Plainview police arrested a 24-year-old man after finding marijuana and other controlled substances during a routine traffic stop. These kinds of arrests happen often.
Here’s what you should know if you’re in this situation.
Do not provide probable cause
Leaving out lighters, bongs, or playing loud music could indicate to the police that you have been partying and could be in possession of drugs.
If the officer smells marijuana, he could determine that it is probable cause for a search.
In October, a Hartley County deputy stopped a vehicle for speeding. After smelling marijuana, the deputy searched the vehicle and found 4 pounds of cannabis, in addition to THC products, a large sum of cash and a loaded AR-15. The deputy made two arrests.
Most marijuana arrests include other drugs, money, weapons or paraphernalia. Paraphernalia can include items such as bongs, vaporizers and potted plants.
Last year, Dumas Independent School District Police Department reported that vaping had been growing out of control among students, including 26 cases for possession of vaporizers. While these cases all involve tobacco (which is still prohibited under the age of 21), using vapes with THC products can change this offense into a felony.
Remember, if you give any indication — via paraphernalia, odors or behavior — that you are under the influence, this is probable cause for an officer to arrest you for DWI and seek a search warrant for your vehicle.
Be careful what you say
The easiest way to get arrested for possession of marijuana is to tell the police you have marijuana. When in doubt, say nothing.
Be calm and polite
Avoid acting nervous. Comply with the officer’s request for license and registration. If the officer asks to search your vehicle, respond calmly. Say, “I do not consent to a search without a warrant.”
If the officer says they will call a K-9 to sniff for drugs, tell them this is fine. K-9 dogs may not be able to tell the difference between hemp and marijuana and should not be the sole source of probable cause.
Call a lawyer
If you do all of the above and are arrested under marijuana charges, call a lawyer from Chappell, Lanehart & Stangl immediately.
Marijuana convictions — even for the smallest amount — can have wide-ranging consequences on your life. You may lose your driver’s license and employment opportunities, so it is important to find a qualified marijuana lawyer from Chappell, Lanehart & Stangl.
Our lawyers can help overturn charges, get you a reduced sentence or find diversionary programs that will help you put this chapter behind you.
Remember, you have rights, including the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney.
If you feel your rights were violated during your traffic stop or arrest, let our lawyers know immediately. There have been cases before, including a race-related incident 20 years ago in Tulia, that have impeded on civil rights.
At Chappell, Lanehart & Stangl, we are committed to successfully investigating and defending drug cases. If the prosecutor knows your lawyer will fight for you, your outcome is much more likely to be favorable.