For a motorist, few sights are less welcome than the sight of flashing lights in the rearview mirror. During the holiday season, however, the odds of seeing those lights in your rearview mirror increase significantly. For most drivers, as unwelcome as a traffic stop may be, it ultimately amounts to nothing more than a nuisance and a small hit to the monthly budget in the form of a traffic ticket. For some drivers, however, those flashing lights could lead to an arrest, whether for an outstanding warrant, driving under the influence, or the presence of drugs in the vehicle. If you are one of those motorists, an Omaha I-80 drug stop attorney reminds you to remain silent during — and after — your arrest.
The I-80 Drug Corridor
Interstate I-80, which runs west to east through the State of Nebraska, is a well-known route by which drug traffickers move illegal drugs coming up from Central America. Because Interstate 80 spans the entire country from east to west, it is frequently used to transport drugs to the Pacific Coast states as well as to the New England states. Naturally, law enforcement agencies are well aware of this. Not surprisingly then, I-80 is frequently patrolled and targeted for operations such as “ruse checkpoints.” Ruse checkpoints involve law enforcement officers placing signs on the interstate letting vehicles know that there is a random drug checkpoint ahead when, in fact, there is no such thing as a drug checkpoint. The idea, however, is to scare drivers transporting drugs into pulling off at the next exit, hoping to avoid the imaginary checkpoint. Law enforcement officers will, of course, be waiting at the bottom of the exit ready to fall in behind exiting vehicles. After following long enough to find a pretext for a traffic stop, the vehicle is pulled over and eventually searched. Whether you end up the victim of a ruse checkpoint, or wind up under arrest another way, you have important constitutional rights that you must exercise if they are to help you. Chief among those rights is the right to remain silent.
Your Right to Remain Silent
Collectively known as the “Bill of Rights,” the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution is where most of an accused’s rights can be found, including the right the remain silent found in the 5th Amendment which reads as follows:
“No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”
For your right to remain silent to help you, it must be evoked early on and remain in effect until you speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney. A law enforcement officer will often try several tactics to get you to talk, particularly if you had a decent quantity of drugs in the vehicle. This may include promises of leniency or threats of harsher punishment. Keep in mind, it is the prosecuting attorney that determines both – leniency and/or punishment – if part of a deal. It may, at some point, be in your best interest to cooperate with law enforcement; however, you lose all the benefits that might be gained by doing so if you talk before your criminal defense attorney can work out a deal on your behalf. Be respectful, but firm. When a law enforcement officer asks you questions, simply repeat as often as necessary “I do not wish to answer any questions until I have a chance to speak to an attorney.”
Contact an Omaha I-80 Drug Stop Attorney at Petersen Law Office
If you have been charged with a drug-related criminal offense in the State of Nebraska, consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to ensure that your rights are protected. In Nebraska contact Petersen Criminal Defense Law 24 hours a day at 402-509-8070 to discuss your case.
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