Depending on the circumstances in which you encounter law enforcement officers, your civil rights may vary drastically. Many people are not familiar with what rights specifically apply to them during a traffic stop encounter with law enforcement.
Confusion about your rights may mean that you don’t know how to stand up for yourself during an interaction with police officers. People often don’t understand their right to privacy and the right to be free from unreasonable searches during a traffic stop.
Unfortunately, some officers may use that lack of knowledge to their advantage by tricking people in to searches that might actually help build a criminal case against them. When does an officer have the right to pat you down or conduct a bodily search of your person during a traffic stop?
Officers who suspect that someone may have drugs may try to coerce the person in to agreeing to a search of their body. However, officers must have a reasonable suspicion that you have a hidden weapon in order to physically search your person without a warrant or permission during a traffic stop. If an officer tries to search you, you can ask what probable cause they have for doing so. You have the right to refuse to let an officer go through your pockets or clothing just because they want to catch you with something illegal.
If you believe that police violated your rights during a traffic stop and that violation has led to drug charges, discussing the situation with a defense attorney can help you understand your options.