A routine traffic stop can quickly spiral out of control. When Arkansas police pull over a driver, they may take advantage of the fact that drivers do not always have a solid grasp of their rights and protections. For example, a driver may consent to a search of the vehicle without realizing he or she has the right to refuse unless officers have a warrant or probable cause. The search of a vehicle sometimes leads to charges for drug crimes, which can place a driver’s future on the line.
Police stopped 32-year-old man who was allegedly speeding. Officers claim they smelled marijuana during the traffic stop, and they conducted a search. The search apparently revealed a white powder rolled into a dollar bill on the back seat of the car within the reach of a 1-year-old child. The passenger in the car allegedly informed police that the powder was fentanyl.
Fentanyl is a painkiller 80 times more powerful than morphine. In fact, even adults who come in contact with the drug may absorb it through their skin, leading to accidental overdose. Officers expressed concern that the toddler could have reached the fentanyl, and they charged the driver with child endangerment and felony drug possession. The child was placed under the protection of the Arkansas Department of Human Services.
Media reports do not indicate whether officers obtained a warrant for the search. However, this, along with the validity of the original traffic stop, are important factors for an attorney to assess and potentially challenge in court. When faced with charges of drug crimes, there is too much at stake to go through the process without a skilled legal representative.