When Illinois police make a traffic stop, it is not uncommon for the situation to escalate to something more than a speeding ticket or a warning about a malfunctioning brake light. Law enforcement officers often take full advantage of the moments when they are standing outside a vehicle to obtain as much information as possible about the people inside. Sometimes that information becomes probable cause for arrest for drug crimes.
Recently, officers stopped a vehicle around 11 p.m. because the driver allegedly committed several traffic offenses. When police approached the car, they claim the smell of marijuana permeated the air. Reportedly, when they asked the driver for identification, the 24-year-old man gave them a fake name. Police say he was wanted on several outstanding warrants and apparently did not want police to arrest him.
Law enforcement claims that the overwhelming odor of marijuana gave officers cause to search the vehicle. Police reports say the officer found marijuana, cocaine and Oxycodone, allegedly packaged for individual distribution. The driver was arrested and charged with three counts of unlawful delivery, obstructing police identification, and driving without a license in addition to the speeding charge. He was also held on two outstanding warrants.
When accused of drug crimes that result from a police search at a traffic stop, a criminal defense attorney should be consulted early in the process. Sometimes, law enforcement personnel act outside procedural guidelines or otherwise violate the legal rights of the person detained. A skilled Illinois criminal attorney can help build a solid defense, beginning with challenging the validity of the search and the resulting seizure.