Getting stopped by a police officer while you’re driving can be an intimidating experience. You might feel powerless to protest or refuse consent as they request to search your vehicle or demand that you submit to a sobriety test. Some of these traffic stops lead to arrests for serious crimes, but if law enforcement failed to follow the strict rules governing these situations, you could beat the charge against you. Carolina Law Group, headed by Tommy Kellis, is a Morehead City firm that takes on police and prosecutors in criminal defense matters arising from unlawful stops. We’ll advise as to whether you have potential grounds to exclude any evidence collected. If the approach was unlawful, we’ll fight to have that evidence thrown out of your legal proceeding.
Your constitutional right to be free from unreasonable, warrantless searches does not just apply in your home. This protection also exists in your car where you have an expectation of privacy. Most traffic stops are not based on warrants, so criminal cases where evidence is gathered after a vehicle has been pulled over might hinge on whether the stop was proper. Vehicle stops are not just important in traffic defense litigation, but also many prosecutions relating to drug and theft offenses. Case law holds that a law enforcement officer must have a reasonable suspicion that a crime is being committed or that evidence of a crime is present in the vehicle in order to initiate a lawful stop.
Pinpointing when a law enforcement officer possesses the reasonable suspicion necessary to stop a vehicle might seem like an impossible task. However, case law has established some standards by which we can determine if proper legal grounds existed. The reasonable suspicion that an officer cites must be articulable. That means the stop cannot be based merely on a hunch, but objective facts that would make a prudent person suspect that criminal activity might be occurring.
Cases involving disputed traffic stops arise from a variety of circumstances, including:
Whatever prompted the police action in your case, we don’t take the word of authorities when they claim that everything was done by the book. Our firm verifies what information was available to the officers at the time and what specifically motivated them to pull you over.
The authorities don’t volunteer the fact that a traffic stop lacked the necessary legal justification. Unless you retain an experienced North Carolina defense lawyer, you might never know that the critical evidence used against you could have been thrown out. Our experienced lawyers review the facts carefully and conduct further investigation when warranted to determine if your car was pulled over unlawfully.
The Carolina Law Group in Morehead City represents clients in a wide range of North Carolina criminal defense matters, including cases where evidence was collected in an illegal vehicle stop. For a consultation, please call 252-636-3737 or contact us online.