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Indianapolis Criminal & OWI Lawyers > Blog > Drug Crimes > Unlawful Police Stops in Indiana Drug Cases

Unlawful Police Stops in Indiana Drug Cases


When facing any type of drug charges in Indiana, it is vital that you hire an experienced Indianapolis criminal defense attorney to help you challenge the State’s case against you.  Whether you are facing misdemeanor or felony drug charges, you should hire an attorney experienced in this area of the law.  Not only is there a lot at stake, but concepts like constructive possession are very complex and often misunderstood. A skilled defense lawyer will be able to use this complexity to your benefit, where to reach a favorable agreement with the State or to build reasonable doubt at trial.

One way for an attorney to fight drug charges in Indiana is by arguing that the traffic stop was illegal. At Rigney Law LLC, we have seen many drug cases where the traffic stop was unlawful. This article discusses illegal police stops in an Indiana drug case.

What Constitutes an Illegal Traffic Stop in Indiana?

In Indiana, police officers must have reasonable suspicion that a violation of the law has occurred to conduct a traffic stop. If a police officer stops someone without reasonable suspicion that is considered an illegal stop. If an officer stopped you without a valid reason, such as erratic driving, a traffic violation, or another credible suspicion of unlawful activity, you may have been subjected to an illegal traffic stop.

In Indiana, not only do individuals have the right to be free from being stopped without  reasonable suspicion, They also have the right against illegal searches and seizures. The right to be free from unlawful searches and seizures is granted under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Indiana Constitution also gives individuals the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures in Article 1 Section 11.. A search and seizure is considered illegal if the police conduct the search and seizure without probable cause, a proper warrant, or a valid exception to the warrant requirement. In Indiana, valid exceptions to the search warrant requirement include consent, exigent circumstances, inventory searches, and the plain view doctrine.

Investigating Whether a Traffic Stop Was Illegal

Investigating whether a traffic stop was illegal and whether you were subjected to an unlawful search and seizure is crucial in challenging the legality of a traffic stop in a drug case.  This determination should be made by an experienced criminal defense attorney.  However, you can assist your lawyer in the evaluation in a few different ways. First, you should write down every detail you remember about your traffic stop. Write down when and where you were stopped. Write down the reason the officer gave you for the stop (if they gave any) and what happened during and after the stop.

How To Use an Illegal Traffic Stop as a Defense in a Drug Case

If you were subjected to an illegal traffic stop, your defense lawyer should file a Motion to Suppress and argue that the stop was unlawful, thus rendering any subsequent search and seizure invalid. If the Judge in your case agrees, this would mean that any evidence obtained during the stop can be suppressed, meaning it is excluded from use at trial. When the evidence is excluded, the hope is that the State will then determine they do not have enough evidence to proceed to trial and dismiss the case.

Contact an Indianapolis Drug Crime Lawyer

If you are facing drug charges in Indiana and need help developing a strong defense strategy, contact our qualified Indianapolis drug crime lawyers at Rigney Law LLC.

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