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Can Police Search Your Car for Drugs Without Your Permission?

Can Police Search Your Car for Drugs Without Your Permission?

When the police pull you over on the roadside, sometimes they can search your car for drugs without your permission. Vehicle searches are legal under some circumstances if you are being arrested. Also, the police can do a search if they have probable cause to believe that a crime is being committed. Finally, they can seize any item in plain view. Search Incident to Arrest When you are being arrested for driving under the influence of drugs, DUI, or another crime on the roadside, the police can search your car if: They reasonably believe evidence of the crime you committed can be...

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Entrapment and Oklahoma Drug-Related Crimes: What You Should Know

Entrapment and Oklahoma Drug-Related Crimes: What You Should Know

Depending on the facts, a defendant charged with drug crimes in Oklahoma may use the affirmative defense of entrapment in court. You may have some understanding of entrapment from popular culture, but the legal definition of this defense is not the same as the cultural understanding. In court, entrapment has 2 specific requirements: The defendant has no previous intent or purpose to violate the law, and The defendant is induced or persuaded by law enforcement officers to commit a crime. Oklahoma Uniform Jury Instructions, OUJI-CR 8-25. Each requirement raises an important and sometimes difficult to prove issue. First, defendants who are...

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How the State Can Seize Innocent Oklahomans’ Property through Civil Asset Forfeiture

How the State Can Seize Innocent Oklahomans’ Property through Civil Asset Forfeiture

Oklahoma’s civil asset forfeiture laws allows police to confiscate your personal property if they believe it is connected to a crime. The laws allow the state to collect millions of dollars in personal property that may have no relationship to a crime at all. Under civil asset forfeiture laws, citizens “forfeit” property that law enforcement believes had a connection to a crime. Police could seize cash found during a traffic stop, for example, if they suspected it was proceeds from the sale of drugs. The property seized can include anything from cash to vehicles to real estate. Most forfeitures involve cash...

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Passengers’ Rights at Traffic Stops

Passengers’ Rights at Traffic Stops

Passengers in a car pulled over at a traffic stop are in a sticky position. They are not operating the vehicle, so they cannot be arrested for DUI or cited for traffic infractions. When law enforcement pulls a car over, passengers may not know what to do. Can the police order a passenger to stay in the car or get out of the car? Yes, courts have concluded that police can either order passengers to stay in or get out of the car during a traffic stop. Reasoning centers on concern for police officers’ safety and need to exercise control over everyone...

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How Cops Find Drugs During Traffic Stops

How Cops Find Drugs During Traffic Stops

A person pulled over for suspected DUI or another driving offense may find himself in more trouble if police search the vehicle. If law enforcement finds evidence of another crime, such as illegal drugs, in the vehicle, they can charge you with that crime too. A simple traffic infraction could escalate to much more serious criminal charges. Usually, police need a warrant to search cars. During traffic stops, however, they can search vehicles without a warrant for several reasons. First, police may search a vehicle incident to a driver’s arrest. Often this type of search is legally permitted because police reasonably...

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Vehicle Impounded? What to Do Next

Vehicle Impounded? What to Do Next

Many drivers who are arrested for driving under the influence have their cars impounded by the police. “Impound” means that the car is towed by a tow truck to a city or state lot where it is kept until the driver or an authorized representative picks it up and pays the impound fees. Police impound cars because the driver cannot or should not drive them and they will otherwise be parked in possibly unsafe locations on public property. The only ways to avoid impound of your vehicle are 1) to convince a sober friend or passenger at the scene to drive...

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Challenging Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test Administration

Challenging Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test Administration

People charged with DUIs can and do challenge Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test administration. The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test (HGN test) is one of the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs) given to suspected drunk drivers at the roadside by law enforcement. To determine how to challenge HGN test administration, learn how the test is administered and then how police officers do it incorrectly. How is the HGN test correctly administered? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides law enforcement with guidelines on administering the HGN test. This article only summarizes the detailed guidelines. First, the officer should instruct the driver to place his feet...

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Targeting, Quotas, and “Wolf Packs”

Targeting, Quotas, and Wolf Packs

When law enforcement take to the roads searching for people to ticket and arrest, often their patrols are not random. Police use techniques such as targeting, quotas, and “wolf packs” to locate people violating the law (or that they think are violating the law) and beef up arrest rates. Targeting Police departments target specific areas or specific people for DUI checks. In particular, most police departments schedule the locations of their sobriety checkpoints based on likely locations to catch drunk drivers. They monitor the dates of local events such as concerts and schedule checkpoints near exits from the concert venue, or they...

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The Oklahoma Citizen’s Arrest

The Oklahoma Citizen’s Arrest

In Oklahoma, a private citizen may arrest a person if the citizen has reasonable cause to believe the person has committed a crime. The arrest is known as a citizen’s arrest. Arrests by citizens are very similar to arrests by police officers: the citizen may restrain a suspected criminal and then deliver him to a police officer or the stationhouse. 22 O.S. § 22-187. Just as police officers must have probable cause to arrest a suspect, citizens must also have probable cause. Because most citizens have not been trained in arrest and restraint procedures, it may be easier to challenge your...

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Are Standardized Field Sobriety Tests Legal in Oklahoma?

Are Standardized Field Sobriety Tests Legal in Oklahoma?

A recent court decision and changes to Oklahoma law have called into question whether Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs) are really “legal” or “accepted” in Oklahoma. While law enforcement officers still administer the tests, defendants frequently question their reliability and their administration in court as part of a DUI defense strategy. SFSTs are field tests administered on the roadside at a traffic stop to drivers suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol. Usually, the tests used are approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The basic tests are: the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, the Walk and Turn, and the...

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