Drug Charges | Probable Cause | Reasonable Suspicion
Drug Charges Hinge on the Legality of Police Actions
Did you know that drug charges hinge on the legality of police actions, even if you are caught with narcotics in your possession? If police don’t follow proper protocol, charges can be dismissed, which is one good reason why you should always contact a criminal defense attorney if you are charged with a drug crime, however hopeless you think your situation may be.
Police Stops and Probable Cause
One of the very first questions a defense attorney will ask is whether or not the police’s initial contact with you was made legally. If it wasn’t, any evidence found during that contact could be suppressed and the charges against you dropped.
Two of the most common reasons police stop drivers in Wisconsin are:
- Probable cause
- Reasonable suspicion
This is the most likely reason a police officer will stop a driver. Probable cause means the officer has a likely cause to believe that the driver has broken a traffic law. It may be speeding, ignoring traffic signs or signals, suspended plates, or burned out taillights. For whatever reason, the officer believes the vehicle and/or driver is in violation of Wisconsin traffic laws and makes a traffic stop. The key question in these situations is whether or not the driver was actually in violation of the law.
It’s important to understand that ignorance of the violation does not mean the stop was made illegally. In other words, just because you didn’t know your taillight was out, doesn’t make the stop illegal. In that case, any evidence found to support drug charges would probably stand.
Reasonable suspicion is similar to probable cause in that officers must suspect that a violation or offense is occurring. A “hunch” or “gut feeling” isn’t enough to warrant reasonable suspicion, but observations and evidence that supports the possibility that an offense is being committed is enough. Officers must consider what is called the “totality of the circumstances” and use that information to determine whether to make a traffic stop under reasonable suspicion. Any reasonable suspicion stop will be examined very, very closely by a defense attorney because there are so many nuances in these types of situations and any one of them could help get your drugs charges dismissed or evidence suppressed.
Fight Drug Charges With Help From Eisenberg Law Offices
Anytime you are charged with a crime, it’s important to contact a skilled criminal defense attorney to protect your rights, analyze your situation, and advise you of your options. The defense attorneys at Madison’s Eisenberg Law Offices bring over 35 years of experience to each case to help you present your best and strongest defense.
Contact our team at 608-256-8356 or Info@eisenberglaw.org to schedule a free and confidential consultation if you are facing criminal charges.