You’ve heard stories about it and seen it in movies—the nightmare scenario where you’re pulled over for a traffic stop and the police arrest you, seemingly arbitrarily, and justify it by planting drugs in your car. It’s a terrifying prospect but an extremely rare one, unlikely to happen to you or anyone you know. That said, if drugs are planted in your car by police, what should you do?
Planted evidence: what to do and what to expect
The first thing is to stay calm. It won’t help your cause to become agitated. Remain respectful, follow directions, and make no sudden moves. It’s always best to say nothing until you have an attorney (see below). There’s nothing you can do at the time of arrest to solve the problem if an officer really has set you up.
Get a lawyer
Tell your lawyer everything that happened at the traffic stop. The police needed probable cause to search your vehicle and if there was none, the search may have been invalid. Inform your attorney if there was anyone else in the car or nearby who could be called as witnesses.
Prepare for trial
Your lawyer will prepare for trial which will often include the offer of a plea deal. Talk it over with your attorney to assess the short- and long-term consequences. Meanwhile, your lawyer can investigate the arresting officer’s police record for a history of behavior that may support your assertion of foul play.
Again, the likelihood of being falsely arrested for drug possession during a traffic stop is very low, but should it happen to you, having a good legal advocate on your side is a must.