The Burn has come and gone for another year. In it's wake, we have the usual arrests, searches and detentions of patrons by the Officers brought from the Western United States to enforce the law.
Every year there are different tactics, whether by undercover officers or uniformed officers. This year was no different. I have noticed a trend for this years cases.
The Bureau of Land management (BLM) set up at the main entrance to the event and brought along a dog. They stopped vehicles because of dusty license plates, speeding and several other reasons. While stopped they inquire as to any drugs on the person(s) or the vehicle. My clients advise that they are told that it would be better for them to admit the drugs rather than have the dog go through the car. They are also advised that a serach of the car will be made anyway so it's best for them to be honest.
Now, this is nothing new as far as tactics go. It is a basic intimidation tactic that clearly gets across to the patron that they have no real choice in the matter ergo, the persons cough up their marijuana or other drugs, receive a ticket to federal court and they can be on their way.
In a lot of instances this really isn't the legal eagle case of cases. However, there are some tickets that do not refer to the drug found and so leaves an open door. There are persons with passports who have to give up that information thereby potentially destroyed their ability to travel and there are those who simply have marijuana in a car full of people and it isn't theirs.
The police, in order to stop a vehicle, have to have a reason. In order to search a vehicle they have to have probable cause. They can get this cause from several avenues but the most often is to scare the driver who will then voluntarily give permission or face a delay of some sort.
I have clients from around the world. They are not familiar with our legal system and have no idea what their rights are. They are only familiar with their legal systems and feel that they have to give consent or face arrest. This is not the law in the USA.
Establishing Probable Cause is a must. We know the ins and outs of all aspects of the law. If you feel you have been mistreated, please feel free to contact me at 1-775-624-5846 or 1-877-886-9015.