My friend was pulled over for swerving, thus suspicion of dui. I was the passenger. Upon arresting him they found cocaine on his person. There was no drugs or alcohol within plain sight of the vehicle. We don’t smoke marijuana so no implication of smell that would lead them to believe I may have contraband. Were both over the age of 21, so no arrest for underage drinking. I did not have any warrants. They pulled me out of the vehicle and i clearly stated that I do not consent to the search of my person. They then searched me (not patted down for weapons) and found a controlled substance in my sock. The police stated to me that because he had drugs on him, that gave them reasonable suspicion that I had drugs on me. If that were the case, I assume if a person on a private or public transportation vessel i.e. a bus were found to have narcotics, there would be reasonable suspicion for everyone traveling on said vessel to be in possession of narcotics?
Your query is very fact-specific. I can come up with about 200 permutations of the sequence you just described. First, understand that search and seizure involving a motor vehicle is always a little different. Second, the sequence in which all this happened is very vital in analyzing whether the search was legal or not. Third, it matters rather desperately whether the dashcam on this DUI arrest caught your part of it.
Five years ago, this would have been an easy question and the answer would have been "the search was legal.". Today it is a MUCH more difficult question and your should find the best search and seizure lawyer you can find. Only by discussing this interactively and privately with a skilled search and seizure attorney will you get a reliable answer.
I'm sorry your privacy was disrupted.
Every Good Wish.
I like your legal analysis but unfortunately you get an “F” on your Constitution test with a double “FF” for the section on the 4th Anendment. (Search & Seizure). Since you were in a private vehicle w someone who possessed contraband (drugs) you easily could’ve been in a conspiracy w him. Further, case law is clear on 2 points. #1. Officer Safety allows them to search you for weapons (after they found the drugs on your “friend”) as a very hi % of drug arrests involve the possession of weapons (guns, knives, brass knuckles, razor blades, etc.) #2 Search Incident to Arrest - since they found illegal drugs on him; you knew him; and were with him while he was committing a crime; that gives them the authority to search you and the vehicle. FINALLY, your “bus” theory fails as someone on a public conveyance (bus) in the front by the driver would have no nexus (connection) w someone sitting all the way in the rear. There would have to be a nexus or connection between the two people before the police would have reasonable suspicion that the 2nd person had any illegal items before they could be searched. However, if such evidence was visible in someone close to the person possessing drugs and there was reasonable articulable suspicion of criminality afoot (Terry vs Ohio), that person could be stopped, detained and questioned... even patted down (for officer safety). So the short answer is YES, they can search you. Now since you’re so interested in criminal law why don’t you go straight (back to school) and get a real career (and stop wasting your life with illegal drugs???) You’ll never regret doing the right thing!
This is an interesting question.
I am not going to go out on a limb and answer the question one way or another.
This is because I would want to see everything, and I mean, everything in the case before trying to give you an answer.
You are hardly the first person to be in the position of being a passenger when law enforcement is arresting the driver. I do not necessarily agree with the statement that they absolutely could search you.
You need a lawyer who is willing to put in the time to do all the research on the latest case law to try to challenge the search of everything found allegedly on your person or that the police are attributing to you. If successful, you could get your case dismissed. If unsuccessful, you may have a great issue for an appeal.
No matter what, you need a lawyer. You're looking at a possible prison sentence for the alleged controlled substance in your sock.
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