Can a police officer charge all occupants of a car with possession of paraphernalia if one of them admits that it was theirs?

UPDATED: Sep 16, 2011

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Sep 16, 2011Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can a police officer charge all occupants of a car with possession of paraphernalia if one of them admits that it was theirs?

My 2 friends and I got pulled over and searched and they found a pipe in the car. My one friend tried to tell the officer that it was hers and his response was that he “would not buy it” and proceeded to give all of us a charge for paraphernalia. Is this something that an officer can do? And why would he do that? My understanding is that they just need one person to take claim and the rest should walk, it somehow doesn’t make sense.

Asked on September 16, 2011 under Criminal Law, Indiana


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Police officers are permitted to asses the situation at hand when they have stopped a car for valid reasons.  The are entitled to use their training and their insight and if they choose not to believe the person who steps up to take the rap then that is their prerogative.  They can then issue the summons or summonses as they choose.  It does not mean that the charges will hold up.  If your friend does indeed take responsibility for ownership then the charge against you may be dismissed.  It may be a good time to speak with an attorney in the matter.  You need to discuss with them the entire event as it unfolded.  If they pulled you over and they had no right to do so - probable cause - then the search could be illegal and thrown out. 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption