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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 19777
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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I was stopped in Eugene OR and told to get out of my vehicle,

Customer Question

I was stopped in Eugene OR and told to get out of my vehicle, was not asked whereas they searched and found minor meth in it, I was taken to jail, my dog was put in the pound, truck towed and wrote me up for having drugs. Where are my civil rights in that was not ask to be searched????
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 5 years ago.

Police can pull over a vehicle on any articulable suspicion. If you're driving too fast, too slow, too carelessly, too carefuly, with your lights on, without them, with broken lights, etc. Almost anything wlll hold up as the basis for a stop. From there, the police officer can ask you for identification and ask you to get out of the vehicle. He can pat you down to check for weapons and his safety, and take what's in plain view from your vehicle, but if he's going to do a full search of the car, he's supposed to get a warrant or to have an exception to the warrant requirment.

The charge against you is a felony, and you should retain a lawyer if you can do so, as soon as you are able. If you cannot afford one you can plead not guilty at your arraignment and ask the court to appoint you a public defender. You can talk to your lawyer about the background of this case and the police improprieties that you experienced. While I don't see what lay behind the officer's decision to stop you or search you, I can say that if you want to fight your case, your lawyer will be able to file motions for suppression hearings designed to investigate and challenge Constitutional violationsm abd the judge will most likely grant you the hearings.

The law as to search and seizure, however, is very complicated. The rules are not nearly as cut and dried as they look in the Constitution. Decisions on whether police have overstepped their authority and violated someone's Constitutional rights are determined at suppression hearings on a case-by-case basis. The test the court will apply is what is reasonable under all the circumstances. So even though you believe that the police were very incorrect here, and even if proves later to be true, the case will be prosecuted.

If you decide to fight his case rather than take any kind of deal, and you are granted a hearing, what happens is that the prosecutor will call the police officer to the stand and will question him as to what he did in your case. He will ask him to explain the stop and to discuss the search, the arrest, any post-arrest questioning, and so on, to try to show that everything the police said and did was reasonable under all of the circumstances.

When the prosecutor is finished, your lawyer would be able to cross-examine the police officer to try to show just how the police abused their authority, how they stopped you for no apparent reason, how they searched your vehicle without a warrant, or without asking for your consent, as well as question them about anything else your lawyer believes may have been improper. After both sides have finished getting all the evidence out there, the prosecutor and the defense attorney will each get an opportunity to argue their point of view before the judge, drawing support from the testimony that came out at the hearing. After that, the judge will make his ruling.

If the judge rules that police actions were reasonable under the circumstances, the evidence would be allowed to be used against you at trial. If, on the other hand, the judge rules that the police violated some or all of your rights, evidence seized as a result of those violations which would not have been inevitably discovered anyway would have to be suppressed. If the drugs got suppressed, obviously your whole case would have to be dismissed.

There are two other things that you should know about suppression hearings The first is that these hearings are very difficult to win. Judges give a lot of deference to the judgment calls of police out in the field and usually they will find their actions reasonable. The second is that generally these hearings aren't available until the end of the case, right before a jury would get selected. By then, any favorable deal the prosecutor has proposed is usually off of the table. This is important to keep in mind, because if the evidence does not get suppressed, your may or may not have a very strong trial case. Your lawyer would be able to advise you of your trial chances early enough in the case for you to decide whether to move the case to hearings and trial or take advantage of a favorable plea bargain.

As a general rule, although this is a felony charge, a first felony possession of a controlled substance would usually yield an offer of probation. Methamphetamine is a schedule II drug and possession of it is a class C felony in Oregon carrying carry a maximum penalty of up to 5 years of prison and a fine of up to $100,000.


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This thread will not close and you can always use it to get clarification.This is informational only and is NOT legal advice. There is no attorney-client relationship. You are advised to consult an attorney in your state for specific legal advice.

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