Can I be be charged later for drugs that the police found in my car but didn’t arrest me for?

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Can I be be charged later for drugs that the police found in my car but didn’t arrest me for?

I was pulled over for speeding while having passengers in my car. Supposedly my car has been called in few times throughout the months for suspicion of marijuana. I am 19 but my stepfather came to make sure everything was fine. The police officer got consent to search the car from my stepfather since it is under his name. They found some paraphernalia and old scraps of marijuana. The passengers and I were put in handcuffs and read our rights. Since I had no criminal record and this was my first offense, I was not charged with either of them. I was only charged with the traffic tickets which I can pay off and don’t have to go to court (no one else was charged for anything). However, I also had 10 ecstasy pills within the car. They found and took the pills but no one was questioned or charged for them. I didn’t know they where gone until I got home; the police did not mention or say anything about them. So what can I expect?

Asked on April 15, 2012 under Criminal Law, Virginia

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You need to hire an attorney as soon as you can.  Just becuase you were not charged now does not mean that the prosecutor can not charge you later.  You can also expect that your license will probably be suspended or revoked for a period of time.  Get help.  If they leave the charges as is you have been given a gift.  Learn from this.  

Maury Beaulier / Minnesota Lawyers.com

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Yes.  That scenario is not all that unusual.  Law enforcement are likely to approach you regarding assisting them in finding other drug dealers.  However, even if you assist, it is still probable that you will be charged once you no longer wish to assist.  As a result, exercising your rights to remain silent may be critical. 

With ten or more doses, a fourth degree felony possessin charge is likely.  Thuis is very serious and carries with it imprisonment for not more than fifteen years or to payment of a fine of not more than $100,000, or both.  

 
Obviously, there are many defenses to the charge.  Certainly, a significant issues is whether or not the officer had an articulable, reasonable suspicion of a particularized criminal offense in order to stop your vehicle. if there is no reasonable suspicion any evidence seized after the stop would be the product of an unlawful search and maybe suppressed.  
 
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