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Jasper County, Indiana Possession of Cocaine Conviction Reversed

The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a Lafayette, Indiana man’s conviction for possession of cocaine in law enforcement worker Jasper County. The defendant was stopped for speeding on I-65 near Rensselaer. The officer observed that the defendant appeared nervous and was sweating and shaking his legs. During the traffic stop the officer learned that the defendant was traveling from Chicago to Lafayette, but believed the man’s explanation for the trip was suspicious and inconsistent. After writing the defendant a speeding ticket and telling him he could leave, the officer asked if any weapons were in the car. The defendant replied no, but the officer believed the defendant had acted suspiciously. He then called for a canine unit and detained the vehicle. After the canine alerted to the car, 66 grams of cocaine was found in the vehicle.

The defendant was convicted at trial for possession of cocaine. However, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the conviction finding that the search of the defendant’s vehicle was unlawful. The Court held that because the speeding ticket stop had concluded, the officer could not detain the defendant any longer to get a canine unit. The Court further held that the officer’s observation that the defendant was nervous, and that the explanation of the trip to and from Chicago was inconsistent, did not constitute reasonable suspicion that the defendant was involved in criminal activity.

Jasper County Criminal Defense: Attorneys Defending Drug Crimes in Rensselaer and Lafayette

Police often attempt to turn routine traffic stops on I-65 into drug investigations, based on so-called suspicious activity. Police know that drug trafficking is rampant between Chicago and Indianapolis. I-65 is heavily patrolled and canine units searching for drugs are almost always nearby. Drug charges in Jasper County, White County, and Tippecanoe County for possession of cocaine, heroin, and marijuana often originate from an infraction traffic stop.

If you are stopped for a traffic violation on I-65 near Rensselaer, Monticello, or Lafayette, police may attempt to bring a canine unit to the scene to search for drugs. However, you have a right to privacy in your vehicle. While a canine can sniff the exterior of your vehicle during an infraction traffic stop, police cannot extend the stop to wait for a canine unit to arrive without reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.

Defense of Cocaine, Heroin, and Marijuana Charges in Rensselaer – Jasper County

Gibson Law Office defends clients charged with drug crimes in Jasper County. With an office in nearby Lafayette, our criminal attorneys represent clients in Rensselaer, Monticello, Fowler, Kentland, and throughout Indiana. If you have been arrested for possession of cocaine, heroin, or marijuana, call us today for a free consultation. If you were the victim of an illegal police search of your car or home, our criminal defense team will aggressively defend you.