Traffic stops can run the gamut of annoyances that disrupt drivers’ days to events that change the course of individuals’ lives. What may begin as a simple stop for speeding or a broken tail light may turn into a serious legal battle for an Arkansas resident, if a law enforcement official alleges that the driver had illegal substances in their vehicle.
A traffic stop may start when a law enforcement official witnesses a driver breaking a law. After initiating a stop, a law enforcement official may approach the stopped driver’s window and ask for identification and other pertinent information. During the course of their brief investigation, if the law enforcement official sees or finds illegal drugs, they may proceed with an arrest of the individual.
In order for this entire and oversimplified process to be legal law enforcement officials have to follow procedural safeguards to ensure that drivers’ rights are not violated. For example, drivers and their vehicles cannot be searched unless the involved officers have probable cause to believe that evidence of illegal actions may be present. Law enforcement officials cannot flaunt their power and demand that drivers make available their vehicles’ interior compartments if no probable cause exists, as such exercises are arbitrary uses of power.
Traffic stop drivers have rights under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. It is an unfortunate fact that many drivers are arrested for drug charges when their encounters with police officers begin with alleged traffic infractions and other minor offenses. Getting help after a traffic stop drug arrest can be an important step toward protecting one’s future and legal rights.