This is the second post in our “Marijuana Possession in Arkansas” series. Our last post discussed the stiff penalties that are imposed for marijuana possession in Arkansas. These penalties continue to be enforced under Arkansas’s current state laws, but may be subject to change depending on the result of new marijuana propositions that are up for the November 2014 ballot. This post will discuss what practical information residents need to know if they are arrested for marijuana possession.
Arkansas marijuana possession charges are often the result of an illegal search and seizure
The United States’ Constitution protects the privacy of citizens with the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition of search and seizure without probable cause. This amendment guarantees that law enforcement will follow specific rules when attempting to gather evidence of a crime. These rules require an office to either obtain a warrant prior to search, obtain a citizen’s consent to search without a warrant, or to establish probable cause that a crime is being committed. If an office violates these rules, then the evidence against you is not admissible in court and the charges filed must be dismissed. Patrick discusses more about these issues in the following video:
A common scenario our office commonly sees is a police officer finding marijuana in a vehicle during a traffic stop for a minor infraction. Police officers are allowed to stop your vehicle if they have reasonable suspicion that you have committed any offense, even a minor traffic infraction. Simply having the right the stop you, however, does not give the officer a right to search every nook and cranny of your vehicle. If Arkansas police exceed their bounds, and discover marijuana, then the evidence can be excluded from court by filing a Motion to Suppress. Should this Motion win then the case will effectively be over. If the police recovered marijuana, or any other drug, from your person or vehicle during a search then you should contact our Little Rock attorneys immediately.
If a citizen is arrested in Arkansas then they should contact an attorney immediately- even if the charges are for a misdemeanor
It is important to contact an attorney right away if an officer finds marijuana in your vehicle and you are arrested. Even if you believe the officer conducted a legal search, an attorney may find a breach in protocol and be able to get the charges against you dismissed. Do not speak to prosecutors or confess to owning anything while you have charges pending. If you have been detained on suspicion of marijuana possession do not hesitate. The sooner you contact an attorney, the better a chance you have of beating your charges. Our office is ready to assist you.