Thousands of drug charges are made every year and many of them have been made using a drug search. Drug searches are conducted by law enforcement individuals, sometimes using special drug K9 dogs. Drug charges can often carry serious penalties upon conviction so it’s important to talk to an experienced attorney as soon as possible after charges are made. A drug arrest often comes after drugs have been found or after a drug search has been completed. Most often, a drug search is done legally. There are several ways that a drug search may be completed. A law enforcement officer may ask permission to search. Alternatively, if the officer has reason to believe that drugs are present they can seek a warrant. If the situation is likely to present an immediate danger, law enforcement may conduct an immediate search.

What to Expect During a Drug Search

A drug search may be simple or extensive, depending on the situation. Many different areas may be searched including such places as:

  • Vehicle
  • Purse or backpack
  • Suitcase
  • Home
  • A location where you were
  • Your clothing
  • Your person

You are able to allow or deny an initial drug search if asked by a police officer. For example, if you are stopped for a traffic violation and the officer suspects drugs he may ask to search the vehicle. You can deny or disallow the vehicle search, however, this will usually extend the length of time to conduct the search. The police will need to seek a court order to search your vehicle, which can usually be granted in a few hours. In the meantime, you will likely be detained and your vehicle may need to be towed off the roadway.

Dog Searches

Drug searches are often done using specially trained K9 dogs. These K9 units must be properly trained, which requires many hours of service. Contrary to popular belief, K9 dogs may be wrong when they are searching for drugs, particularly if they are given improper cues. It is important for your attorney to learn how the search was completed in order to ensure that it was done properly. In some cases, the dog may not have been properly used in the search and as a result, the drugs found may not be used as evidence. If drugs are recovered during a search they will be confiscated, tested, and weighed.  Drug penalties apply based on the amount of drugs that are found. A small amount of drugs are typically considered for personal use. When large quantities of drugs are found you will be charged with intent to distribute, a very serious criminal offense that has potential for significant jail time.

What to Do After a Drug Search

If you’ve been charged with drug possession or distribution you will need to contact an attorney as soon as possible. Choose a lawyer with experience handling drug charges since the laws change quickly. Discuss the situation with your lawyer who will review what occurred when a drug search was made. Drugs found during a traffic stop generally will be charged to the driver unless a passenger has admitted to having them. Drug paraphernalia is confiscated and tested to determine drug residue. Your lawyer will review your case and assist you in determining the best way to proceed. Speak to the police only with your lawyer present to avoid any problems later on. A drug arrest can be a very frightening experience but with the help of a knowledgeable attorney you’ll get though the process more easily.