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Michigan Criminal Law Blog

What You Should Know about Drugs in Your Vehicle

Getting pulled over while driving by law enforcement can be frightening if there are drugs in your vehicle. The experience is even worse if you don’t realize there are drugs in your car and a search by law enforcement uncovers materials that could get you convicted of a crime.

What Should You Do If a Search Reveals Drugs in Your Vehicle?

A large number of drug arrests occur as the result of traffic stops. Though it’s highly inadvisable to keep drugs with you when driving, it’s a common occurrence and one of the most frequent reasons people end up in court.

If there are other people in your vehicle at the time the drugs are found, a conviction could be less likely because it becomes more challenging for the prosecution to prove who the responsible party is. In order to prove guilt in a vehicle with several people, police need to look for specific evidence, such as DNA or fingerprints, lining you and the drugs in question. If no evidence such as that exists, in order to prove guilt, law enforcement will need to show:

1. Knew the drugs were present
2. Had dominion over and the ability to control the item in question

“Dominion over,” in most cases, means more than just the ability to reach out and grab the item, and courts have held that proximity to it is not enough, but a more direct link the drug is needed – something that can be difficult to prove.

If you would like to read more about establishing legal dominion, check this out from <a href = “”>the Law Dictionary.</a>

Of course, if you are pulled over and law enforcement finds drugs in your vehicle, how difficult it will be to prove their case is of little interest to you initially. The experience is scary and one that most people would rather avoid all together.

So what should you do in this position?

First and foremost, as always when you are accused of a crime, keep your cool and provide as little information as possible. Even if you are innocent or there appears to be a misunderstanding (or worse), there’s no need to explain yourself in the moment. You are better off waiting until you have someone on your side, protecting your interests. It’s always good to remember that no matter how cooperative or sympathetic law enforcement might seem, their first priority is always focused on building a case against you.

Once you are able, contact an attorney who has experience dealing with drug cases. He or she can offer advice based on your specific circumstances and can also evaluate the details of your arrest to determine if anything was out of order or if there is reason to dismiss your case based on something that occurred as a result of your traffic stop.

If you would like to discuss your situation further or you believe you need to representation of an attorney, contact Andrew W. Kowalkowski, PLLC at 248.974.9594 for more information or to schedule a consultation.


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