Recent traffic stops in Indiana have led to arrests for drug possession found in vehicles and on the driver or passengers in the car. These traffic stops often begin entirely normal as officers pull over drivers for various non-criminal issues, such as potentially dangerous damage to vehicles, speeding, or suspicious driving. However, they can quickly turn into something much more severe if you are suspected of a drug crime.
These traffic stops can go a step further if police suspect or have evidence of drug activity or drug possession, which allows them to call in K9 backup or conduct a search of the car. If officers find anything, a person may be arrested and processed at local police departments.
What to do if a traffic stop escalates
If you are pulled over for a general vehicle or driving issue, the officer needs to see, smell or hear something that gives probable cause to take the search further. If they do find evidence of drugs in your car, on your person or in your system, these tips can help de-escalate the situation.
Don’t say anything you may regret, try to defend yourself or your actions, or escalate the situation by running away, assaulting, or attempting to attack a police officer. Don’t attempt to get out of the vehicle unless asked to do so.
Cooperate, to a point
Hand over licenses, registrations, indicate if there are any weapons in the car, and make it clear that any passengers with you should cooperate with the officers as well. However, you do not need to talk to the officer about the situation or anything illegal you may have in your car or belongings without a lawyer present. Never give consent for police to search your vehicle.
Record the situation
If any mobile phones or other electronics are handy, it can benefit you to video or audibly record the interaction to ensure police are upholding your rights, and the officers are acting within their legal rights to search your vehicle.
Get help as soon as possible
If things have escalated to the point of being arrested, avoid making any statements without a lawyer present. Having an attorney arrive to discuss your specific circumstances and talk about your rights going forward can help keep the situation calm, and give you an honest evaluation of how to defend your case.