Can a cop charge me with drugs he found in his cop car the next day?

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Can a cop charge me with drugs he found in his cop car the next day?

I was charged with drugs found the day after I was arrested. The following day after I was arrested the cop was removing a prisoner he had transported to the jail and noticed two zip lock baggies in his floorboard. He removed me from holding and said he had probable cause to believe the drugs were mine. No drugs were found in my possession the previous day of my arrest. My original charge was possession of a firearm without a permit.

Asked on July 4, 2016 under Criminal Law, Indiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you can be charged if it is reasonably likely ("probable cause") that the drugs were yours, which is not necessarily hard to show in this case, if you were the only one other than the prisoner being transported, and that prisoner had been searched before going in the back of the car, to recently be in the rear of the police car or van; under those circumstances, there is a reasonable chance the drugs were yours. That does not necesarily mean that you will be convicted of drug possession: to convict requires a higher standard of proof ("beyond a reasonable doubt") and even if it is reasonably likely that, under these circumstances, the drugs were yours, at the same time, it might not be possible to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they were yours when they were not found right after you were in the vehicle. That's not to say you should be confident of getting off, but to point out that you can be charged for less evidence than would be necessary to convict. A good criminal defense attorney could help point out the flaws or gaps in the government's case; you should retain an attorney to represent you.


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