"LAWRENCEVILLE TRAFFIC STOP LEADS TO MAJOR DRUG BUST"
This news headline is a common scenario today and always leads to a narcotics prosecution. Traffic stops are a useful tool for law enforcement in their effort to discover illegal drugs such as Marijuana, Cocaine, Heroin, and drug paraphernalia used to ingest those controlled substances. Therefore, when a traffic stop occurs, be aware that police will most likely make every effort to either find a reason to search your vehicle(Probable Cause), or to obtain consent to search your vehicle when no Probable Cause exists.
If you are stopped for a valid legal reason, such as speeding or making an illegal turn, Police have the authority and the duty to issue a citation for that Pennsylvania Vehicle Code violation. However, after the citation is issued, Police will often attempt to expand the stop into a search of the passenger compartment and/or trunk of the vehicle for the purpose of searching for drugs. For this, Police will need either independent Probable Cause, or consent of the owner or driver of the vehicle. Know that you have a right to answer “No” to a law enforcement request for consent to search. Think about it: if Police had the Probable Cause required to search your vehicle, they would not need your consent to do so.