The reported case is yet another example of a traffic stop for tail lights or other accessories that turns into a drug bust. Here, the University of Louisiana at Monroe police stopped a 34-year-old man from Monroe because, according to police, he was driving with his fog lights on. During the traffic stop, police also noticed that a taillight was out, and that the man had no driver’s license and no insurance. They also ended up arresting him on a drug possession charge.
Police say that they spotted in plain sight through the driver’s side window a suspected marijuana cigarette floating in a bottle of water. He admitted that it was marijuana. His biggest mistake in this whole affair was that he had been in Louisiana for about 10 years and had never bothered to get a driver’s license. Police arrested him for simple possession, driving without a license, driving without insurance, driving with fog lights and having no taillight.
There’s no report of any drugs other than the drowned marijuana cigarette. Getting drug charges is a high price to pay for having a tiny amount of marijuana. He possibly could have prevented those drug charges by asserting his rights and not admitting to police that it was marijuana. It’s true that when the police observe something inside the car in plain view, they may then have a right to search further. But here, the identity of what was floating in the bottle was probably debatable, and the man turned out being cooperative far over and above what is required by law.
One of the morals here is that you should never drive without a license or insurance. Those are serious mistakes that can lead to or create more trouble than what happened here. Always also have all taillights and other accessories in good working order. It makes no sense to give the police a continuing invitation to stop your vehicle due to taillights. In Louisiana, if you are facing a drug possession charge or related charges, you’ll be able to take advantage of meeting with an experienced criminal defense counsel to get fully and accurately informed about your rights and options.
Source: thenewsstar.com, “Man arrested on multiple charges,” June 22, 2013