When a motorist is pulled over by a police officer, things can escalate quickly. A minor traffic stop, for example, can quickly turn into a vehicle search and the discovery of troubling evidence. Individuals can then face significantly more serious charges that may lead to years behind bars and a ruined reputation. When an accused individual’s future is on the line, they need to do everything they can to protect their legal rights and fight back against overzealous prosecutors.
Two Michigan residents may need to do that now after being arrested in Kalamazoo on different charges. The charges come after a traffic stop for speeding. Police claim that when they pulled the vehicle over, the driver appeared to be under the influence of alcohol. They claim she refused commands given by officers and refused to exit her vehicle. She was arrested for drunk driving, obstructing justice, and resisting arrest. The vehicle’s passenger, a 27-year-old man, had a warrant out for his arrest and was taken into custody.
Subsequent to the arrests, officers searched the vehicle. A handgun was allegedly found under the passenger’s seat. Prosecutors are now considering whether or not to charge the passenger with carrying a concealed weapon.
These criminal charges can wind up being quite serious for both individuals. The gun charge, in particular, could result in harsh penalties, particularly if the individual has any prior convictions. In cases like these, though, criminal defense options may be available. One option may be to question the legality of the officers’ initial stop of the vehicle. If it is found to be illegal, then any evidence gathered after that point, including the gun and evidence of intoxication, may be suppressed. Those accused of crimes like these can benefit from consulting a lawyer, who can guide them through the process and prepare a legal defense that fits the facts of the case.
Source: WKZO, “Traffic stop results in gun charge,” John McNeill, Jan. 29, 2017