A New York City cab driver was arrested and is facing drug charges. A federal drug agent apparently stopped the driver after receiving a tip about a scheduled drug transaction to take place over the weekend. Law enforcement authorities approached the parked cab and ordered the driver out of the car. The officers proceeded to search the vehicle and allegedly found a bag with 3.3 pounds of crystal methamphetamine in the spare tire area of the trunk. The driver was then arrested, charged, and held on $1 million bail in a local jail. He may even be deported to his birthplace, the Dominican Republic.
Under the Fourth Amendment, people are protected from illegal searches and seizures. This means that officers are not permitted to search any place where you have a reasonable expectation of privacy without a reason.
If the police have probable cause, or some legitimate evidence to believe you are involved in some criminal activity, they may legally search your vehicle. However, if the officer just has a hunch that you are guilty of a crime, that is not enough reason to inspect your vehicle. Minor traffic violations, such as a broken taillight or speeding, are generally not considered probable cause to search your vehicle.
If you are the victim of an illegal search and seizure, any evidence the police collected during their search may be thrown out of the case altogether. Without that evidence, the prosecutor may not have enough evidence to prove that you are guilty of a drug crime. Discuss your case with a criminal defense attorney to find out whether the police illegally searched your vehicle.
Source: 69 News, “New York City cab driver jailed on drug charges in Berks,” Feb. 12, 2018