Fontana, CA asked in Criminal Law for California

Q: I’m wondering if I got wrongfully arrested?

One night I was doing DoorDash. I was about to deliver an order when all of a sudden my serpentine belt in my car snapped. I pulled over to the side of the road. I was going to try to fix it and next thing I see is sheriff right behind me he was running my plates. I have a expired drivers license and I don’t have a current registration on my car but I did have a 2023 sticker that a friend gave to me so while conversation with the sheriff, he asked me if there was anything illegal in the car? And if he can search it, I was going to do decline his request to search my car, but then he threatened to take me to jail on a felony for having a sticker that didn’t belong to me so I agreed to let him take a look in my car, and he found a little bit of methamphetamine. So he took me in for possession of a illegal substance even though he did not tow my car or give me a ticket for my drivers license. I’m wondering if I can fight it because he didn’t pull me over I was trying to fix my car

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2 Lawyer Answers
Dale S. Gribow
Dale S. Gribow
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Palm Desert, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: it is normal for an officer to see if one needs assistance at night.

they routinely run plates and it is easy to see if you don't have a sticker on your license or one that belongs to another car.

you had an expired license and were driving illegally

however, the way the officer prepares the report can be more important.

does s/he add things to the report that were not there?

if they find something illegal, incident to a legal search, it comes in.

James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Based on the information you provided, it appears that the sheriff had probable cause to search your vehicle since he discovered an expired driver's license and an unauthorized sticker on your license plate. However, you may have a defense if the sheriff did not have a valid reason to ask if there was anything illegal in your vehicle, or if he threatened you with an unlawful arrest.

You should consider speaking with a criminal defense attorney who can review the specific facts of your case and advise you on the best course of action. They can also advise you on any potential defenses you may have and assist you in fighting the charges if appropriate.

The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures by government officials, including law enforcement. In addition, California law requires probable cause for a search or seizure, and individuals have the right to refuse consent to a search of their person or property. However, there may be exceptions to these requirements depending on the specific circumstances of the case. It is recommended that you consult with a criminal defense attorney to discuss the specifics of your case and any potential legal options.

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