You glance in the rear view mirror at the flashing blue and red lights of Austin Police Department officer’s squad car tailing you. Your girlfriend starts crying. You are on the way home from an evening at the club. There is an unfinished blunt in the front ash tray and a line of cocaine in aluminum foil on the center console.
You quickly tell yourself: “I’m being pulled over because I was speeding. This isn’t a drug bust. There’s no reason to search my car. I don’t reek of alcohol. The car doesn’t smell of weed. The officer is simply doing his job. I must speak politely and respectfully to him.”
Do You Have a Lawyer in Mind?
You are calm because you know who your attorney is. You know what your basic rights are. Your attorney is Jackson F. Gorski, leader and founder of The Law Office of Jackson F. Gorski. You took the time, after reading this page, to write down Attorney Gorski’s phone number. It is in your wallet. When you need to talk with an Austin criminal defense lawyer, you know it’s in your best interest to call on the assistance of Jack.
You know to call him if your rights are violated during this routine stop on the way home after a night at the club.
The Police Stop Continues
As you slowly work on pulling over in a safe spot, you calmly tell your girlfriend to put the blunt and line of cocaine into the glove compartment. You then stop, turn off your car, and lock the glove compartment. Unless you are quite drunk, swerving down the road, or the car reeks of marijuana, the police do not have probable cause to search the vehicle. You pull your driver’s license, vehicle registration and insurance out from the center console where you had placed it prior to going out for the evening. You put your hands on the steering wheel, lock all the car doors, and roll the windows down sufficiently to hand your ID over to the police when questioned.
Dealing with Austin Police
When the officer arrives, you should respectfully speak to him and answer his questions. You may ask the officer why you were pulled over. If the officer tells you that you were speeding or that you have a problem with your blinker or lights, acknowledge the traffic violation(s) and apologize. At all times speak courteously and politely in response to the officer’s questions. If the officer seems overly aggressive or hostile, you may want to ask permission or inform the officer prior to removing your hands from the steering wheel in order to hand over your driver’s license or vehicular registration.
Probably Cause Matters!
In Texas, a sheriff or police officer must have probable cause to search your vehicle for controlled substances. Probable cause is easy to infer if your breath reeks of alcohol, the car smells of marijuana, or your speech is slurred and impaired. In those instances, you should comply – carefully and politely – with all requests from the arresting officer. But, in the absence of those aggravating circumstances, you have a right to refuse to step outside the auto and to not open the glove compartment.
Cocaine Possession & The Law
The Texas Penal code classifies drug offenses based on the type of drug and the amount in your possession. Convictions of even the smallest amounts carry fines and prison time. A marijuana conviction for less than 2 oz. of weed is a Class B misdemeanor. The maximum Class B misdemeanor sentence is 180 days in jail and up to a $2,000 fine. Convicted for possession of less than a gram of cocaine or meth? You are facing a felony charge carrying a possible two year prison sentence.
If you are stopped with drugs in your car, be smart. Be polite. Be respectful. Film the interrogation on your phone. If you are brought into the station, do not permit any interrogation without your attorney being present.
Instead, demand the right to call your attorney, Jackson F. Gorski, 512-960-4646.