Can I be charged for drugs that the police never told me they found?

I had been pulled over by the police for rolling through a stop sign. The police asked to search my car and knowing I had two one gram viles of wax under my seat I told them I’d like to exercise my 4th amendment and not allow my car to be searched. After bringing a k9 and getting into my car I was let go after being told nothing had been found. My 2 viles of wax were gone after I got home. It turns out that they found them. I was never made aware of this and have heard from friends close to the police in my small community that the wax was found and its in the report. Should I expect charges to be coming my way? Do the police not have to make me aware of having found this in my car? Why wasn’t I arrested on the spot and instead let go with no mention of the wax having been found? What should I expect to happen next?

Asked on March 17, 2018 under Criminal Law, Indiana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

1) The police are under NO obligation to tell someone about the contraband that they found--the police do not have to tell you that they found the wax, and the fact that they did not tell you does not prevent charges from being brought aganst you. The authorities often do not tell suspects about what they have found, until and unless they actual bring charges or seek to get them to cooperate in another case.
2) You may not have been arrested because they wanted to test the wax first. Or they may be deciding what to do: whether to bring charges or not for this amount; or whether to try to get you to cooperate with them in going after your dealer or supplier (this is a fairly likely reason).
3) Since you don't know why the police did not arrest you on the spot, it's impossible to say what will happen next. The alternatives are:
a) Charges;
b) Trying to get you to cooperate against a dealer or supplier; 
c) Seeking to build a larger or stronger case against you--possibly getting a warrant to search your home, seeking a wiretap, etc.
d) If they consider the two 1 gram vials not serious, not charging you.

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