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Interstate Drug Traffic Interdiction Stops

Northwest Indiana Interstate Drug Trafficking Stop Attorneys

Interstate drug trafficking is a problem wherever there are highways. In Northwest Indiana I-80, I-94, and I-65 are some of the biggest drug trafficking highways. If your traffic stop leads to a drug bust, you need an experienced traffic stop attorney to help protect your interests and preserve your rights. Stracci Law Group's criminal defense team has decades of experience serving as lawyers for interstate drug trafficking defendants in Crown Point, Hammond, Gary, Portage, Valparaiso, Rensselaer, Kentland, and throughout Northwest Indiana.

Your Rights During a Traffic Stop Drug Bust in Crown Point, IN

Transporting drugs across state lines is a dangerous business. With drug checkpoints on I-80, I-94, and I-65, if you are holding controlled substances, including Marijuana, there is a decent chance a traffic stop leads to a drug bust.  Only an experienced drug I-80 stop lawyer like those at Stracci Law Group can help you preserve your rights and limit the damage to your life. 

Your rights during a traffic stop drug bust include:

  • Remain silent. The interdiction officer will try to get you to tell him all about where you have been, what you were doing, where you are going, and what you were going to do once there. It's all a trick. He’s actually looking for small and sometimes imagined, inconsistencies in your story as a reason to search your car. 
  • Refusing consent to search. You do not have to agree to allow the police to search your car without a warrant. Even if the officer says he can get a warrant, you should not consent to a search. In Indiana, if you are in custody, the officer must also advise you of certain rights including your right to refuse the search and your right to talk to an attorney before consenting to a search. Beware, however. This only protects you in Indiana State Courts, not Federal Courts.

Drug Possession vs. Interstate Trafficking in Indiana

Interstate drug trafficking laws in Indiana are the same as laws for possessing, possessing with intent to distribute, distributing, and manufacturing controlled substances. Drug interdiction on interstate highways, however, works differently than typical narcotics investigations. 

Rather than using confidential informants to secretly buy drugs or search your vehicle incident to arrest on another offense, interstate drug trafficking investigations are targeted at controlled substances like cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and marijuana traveling through Indiana. In the case of marijuana, this can include traveling from one State where marijuana is legal to another state where marijuana is legal. 

To create drug interdiction stops on the biggest drug trafficking highways, law enforcement uses a number of tools, including:

  • Tips from out-of-state informants and law enforcement agencies
  • License plate readers
  • Spot cars (watching for likely targets) and chase cars (who actually stop the target)
  • “Inviting” you to sit in their car while they prepare a “warning ticket”
  • Drug sniffing dogs
  • Extensive questioning to create inconsistencies in your movements and cause delay so a drug-sniffing dog can arrive
  • Separate questioning of you and your passengers
  • Rental vehicle databases that tell them when and where a rental car was obtained

Lake County Interstate Drug Trafficking Penalties & Charges

Common traffic stop drugs are cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and marijuana. If you are found in possession of these controlled substances during a drug interdiction traffic stop, you will likely be charged with felony offenses for possessing those drugs with intent to distribute. The penalties for these charges can range from as little as 6 months in jail if the substance is marijuana to as much as 30 years in prison for large quantities of heroin, cocaine, or methamphetamine. 

Drug interdiction police take Interstate 80 drug trafficking, interstate 94 drug trafficking, and Interstate 65 drug trafficking very seriously. Often, their patrols are specially funded by grants that depend on the results of a traffic stop drug bust. Only an experienced relentless defense can combat this interest and reach a favorable outcome for you. 

NWI Interstate Drug-Related Traffic Stop Possible Defenses

Because Northwest Indiana has multiple drug trafficking interstates, the highway drug stops lawyers of Stracci Law Group maintain razor-sharp skills and cutting-edge knowledge about drug interstate interdiction. Defending these cases usually comes down to 2 issues: whether the traffic stop was legal and whether there is enough evidence of possession. Even if police suspect you are involved in interstate drug trafficking because of your rental car or because you have engaged in what they call “avoidance,” the officer must still observe you committing a traffic violation before pulling you over. 

When an officer makes a drug interdiction traffic stop without observing a traffic infraction, the drugs he finds may be excluded from evidence. Equally important, the officer must produce enough proof to show that you knew the drugs were there and had both the ability and intent to exercise control over them. This can be a problem for the State when you are simply a passenger in a car or are driving someone else’s car and the drugs are found in a hidden compartment.

How Stracci Law Group Can Help with Highway Traffic Interdiction Stop Cases in Crown Point

Without the right lawyer, traffic stops can have a serious impact on your life and freedom. Traffic stops resulting in drug charges require a traffic stop attorney experienced in interstate drug trafficking laws to protect your rights and reach the best possible outcome. If your traffic stop leads to a drug bust, call Stracci Law Group immediately at (219) 525-1000 to start working on the best defense for you. Contact us today.

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"If you got legal issues I highly recommend this company. They got me out of a jam! With all charges dropped. And reasonably priced."
Cliftin Branch, Criminal Case
"I can actually say that Paul is a GREAT LAWYER!! Takes care of business. He got a very big felony dismissed that was hovering over my life for a couple of years and stopped me from doing many things freely, He also got a Dui Dismissed as well as a few other things! My record is now clean. Thank you Paul Stracci!"
Timmy ShellToe, Criminal Case
"I just want to reach out again to thank you. I’m so incredibly grateful for all your help and hard work. We both are!! My entire family is. I could never say thank you enough. In my head, I knew that he was innocent and never intended for any of this to happen. That he was only defending himself but the fact that they charged him and put him in jail was so terrifying. From the very first time I talked to you over the phone and then came in and met you both, I knew God helped me pick the right attorneys. My son was in the very best hands he could be in. Thank you for also putting up with my constant emailing, I couldn’t help myself. I wanted you to have all of the information I had. I will forever be grateful and I will also definitely be telling anyone I know that needs an attorney to come to your firm. I will tell everyone how amazing you gentlemen are for the rest of my life. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!"
Timmy ShellToe, Criminal Case
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Can you ask for a lawyer during a traffic stop?

The short answer is yes, though the officer is unlikely to provide one to you or allow you to use your phone to call one. If you are unsure whether you should talk to the police or consent to a search, it is usually in your best interest to remain silent and consent to nothing.

How do interstate police spot drug cars?

There are a variety of ways. Sometimes the officer has tips about a particular car to watch for. Police also look for many signs that a vehicle may be involved in interstate drug trafficking, including rental cars, out-of-state plates, cars with low riding rears, and vehicles with non-descript packages in the back seat or bed. But the number one thing police look for to make a traffic stop drug bust is avoidance. “Avoidance” includes driving below the speed limit, suddenly slowing down, sudden lane changes, failing to look at the police vehicle when passing, and gripping the steering wheel tightly with both hands.

What happens if police search my vehicle unlawfully and find evidence against me?

There are several ways the police can search your vehicle unlawfully. Sometimes they erroneously interpret your remarks as consent to search. Sometimes they delay the traffic stop too long to let a drug dog sniff the vehicle. In cases like these, the results of the unlawful search usually cannot be used as evidence against you. This is only true, however, if you have possession of the car in some way. If you are a passenger in the vehicle and it does not belong to you, you generally cannot challenge the search.