If the police find drugs on you during a traffic stop, can they not charge you right then but come back later and charge you?

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If the police find drugs on you during a traffic stop, can they not charge you right then but come back later and charge you?

On Monday, I was pulled over for speeding on and had a warrant for failure to appear on a traffic violation. When he was arresting me he checked my pockets and found drugs. He laid what he found on the seat of his car and asked me if I would be willing to work with them. If so, I would not be charged with those and a narcotics officer would be in touch with me on Wednesday. Is this legal? I told him yes but with no intentions of doing this, just was hoping to get out of drug charges for the moment. So what happened to the evidence? What do I do?

Asked on July 18, 2019 under Criminal Law, Alabama

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

Yes, they can charge you later for the drugs: there is no requirement whatsoever that you be charged on the spot. If he lost the drugs, or did not keep a good "chain of custody" of them (to know who had access to them, when) and/or keep them in a locked/secured place (so anyone could have accessed or tampered with them), it may be that the police will lack good, admissible, reliable evidence (e.g. if they have no drugs, or your attorney could show that the drugs could have been tampered with, reducing their reliability) and be unable to convict you...but that is a different issue. To respond to your question, yes, they can charge you later.


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