Drivers in Georgia who are pulled over by the police have the right to refuse to a search of the vehicle. An officer can request a search if he believes that there is reasonable cause to believe that the vehicle contains evidence of a crime. If the officer believes such evidence is present, for example drug possession, a warrant is not required, but the driver is still within his or her rights to refuse the search. The officer can perform a search without the driver’s consent.
A recent traffic stop resulted in drug charges against the driver. The vehicle in question was pulled over for a non-functioning tail light. The officer alleged that the driver was very nervous and shaking when asked to produce his driver’s license and registration. The officer then reportedly asked if the vehicle contained any illegal weapons or contraband, and the driver denied that it did. The officer asked permission to search the vehicle and reported that the permission was granted.
After reportedly receiving consent to search the vehicle, the officer claimed that he found five and a half oxycontin pills that were contained in a cigarette pack. He also reported that he found marijuana near the gear shift. The driver allegedly told the policeman that he did not have a prescription for the pills, and he was then placed under arrest and taken to Gordon County Jail.
Looking in one’s rear view mirror and seeing flashing red and blue lights can be a very unsettling experience. Drivers are told to remain calm in such situations, but that may be easier for some than others in Georgia. While appearing nervous can indicate to the police that something may be amiss, it does not mean that one’s legal rights no longer apply. When the situation results in a charge of drug possession, a criminal defense attorney can be helpful in ensuring that a person’s rights are preserved and that the rules of evidence are upheld throughout the criminal justice process.