Destin, FL asked in Criminal Law and Federal Crimes for Florida

Q: Can police charge the passenger of a vehicle for drugs found in this situation?/Is this sufficient for a wiretap warrant

I was sitting a parked car in the passenger seat of a vehicle with the car keys in my lap. while the driver was inside an apartment. I fell asleep, and I woke up to police. They pulled me out and searched. I had nothing on me but they found "7 or 8" OZ of heroin or meth, a lot of both, 100's of oxy's, 7 g of pot. That's all I heard them say they found. They asked questions about the driver, I answered honestly but I only knew his nickname. The license plate didn't come back to him, but his nickname came back to him. They showed me a picture and I identified it as him. An officer used his phone to record me under oath stating it was him, and took his PH#. Afterwards, I was released and the driver was not located.

Could they have arrested me then, and could they arrest me in the future? Could I be a suspect? Is this sufficient for a wiretap warrant on me?

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2 Lawyer Answers
Ralph Behr
Ralph Behr pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Boca Raton, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: Yes you could have been arrested. If an officer is in a place where he has a legal right to be ("plain view" test) and he observed a controlled substance and you he could have arrested you. Although proximity (being in the same place) is not enough to convict you of possession (knowledge plus control) it certainly is enough for an arrest.

Terrence H Thorgaard
Terrence H Thorgaard
  • Freeeport, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: I don't see anything in the original question suggesting that the officer "observed a controlled substance" prior to searching the vehicle. Without any reasonable suspicion, I would question whether there was probable cause to search the vehicle.

Colleen Kasperek agrees with this answer

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