Can a passenger receive drug charges in a traffic stop?

On Behalf of | Dec 13, 2023 | Criminal Defense

While you always have a choice regarding who you get into a vehicle with, you cannot always know or decide what that person keeps in their car. If it turns out that you are getting a ride from someone carrying illegal substances, you might find yourself charged with drug possession if a traffic stop occurs.

It can understandably feel unfair to face criminal charges for the possession of drugs that you know have nothing to do with you. By knowing more about drug possession laws and your options for defending yourself, you can have the best chance at overcoming an unfortunate situation.

What does Maryland law say about drug possession?

Maryland drug possession laws outline the process by which police officers may issue citations to individuals found to be in possession of controlled substances. In the case of drugs found in communal areas of a vehicle such as the glove box, floorboard or trunk, an officer might assert probable cause to charge the driver as well as any passengers with drug possession due to the possibility that any or all of them may be guilty of possession.

How can passengers defend themselves against drug charges?

Building a strong defense against drug possession charges starts with proving that the substances in question cannot possibly belong to you. If the police collect proof of drug possession as a result of a wrongful search, then you might also pursue a defense based on the illegitimacy of the evidence against you.

When a law enforcement officer has no way of knowing for sure who owns illegal substances found during a traffic stop, all passengers of the vehicle might face possession charges. Taking the right steps toward a capable legal defense can ensure that you secure the best outcome.

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