How to Stand Up for Your Rights in Court When Racial Profiling Is a Factor in Your Drug Possession Case
Racial discrimination affects virtually every aspect of the criminal justice system. African-Americans make up a disproportionate fraction of the prison population, but they do not commit more crimes. Numerous studies show that police more often go out of their way to catch people of color doing something illegal and to arrest them for it, and prosecutors are more likely to charge them, than happens when white people engage in the same illegal activities. So many African-Americans have been pulled over for traffic stops for trivial reasons, only to end up with arrests made based on flimsy excuses as to have given rise to a saying that they were really being punished for “driving while Black.” A criminal defense lawyer can help you fight criminal charges that were the result of racial profiling, especially if it was for a minor offense like drug possession. To find out more, contact a Central Florida drug crimes lawyer.
Your Rights and How a Racist System Violates Them
In order for an officer to search your car, there must be probable cause for the search. Let’s say that a police officer pulls you over while you are driving to work and starts asking you questions as though he is already sure that you are guilty of a crime. You, understandably, are annoyed and in a hurry to get back on the road. Maybe he even calls you insulting names. He says that your demeanor counts as suspicious behavior that gives him the right to search your car, and he finds a small quantity of drugs. If it is a K-9 car, maybe the officer says that his dog suspects that you have drugs. (It is also possible that the dog has been trained to give an “I suspect drugs” signal at every traffic stop involving a person of color.) Meanwhile, in the few minutes since you have been pulled over, dozens of cars have driven by, also with small quantities of drugs, which the police didn’t find simply because they did not go out of their way to look for them. As for how to fight these charges, a defense lawyer can show that there was no good reason for the officer to stop you and search your car; the lawyer might also be able to show that the officer has engaged in racial profiling in the past.
This is the case that Lee Edward Anderson argued. He was on his way to work at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, where he held a secret security clearance and worked as a communications officer. A police officer pulled him over because of a faulty tag light, claiming he had seen Anderson throw a small plastic bag out the window of his car, implying that Anderson had drugs. The officer arrested Anderson for possession of drug paraphernalia and crack cocaine. At his trial, Anderson cited a surveillance video showed that there was no faulty tag light and no bag thrown from the car. In other words, the officer’s “probable cause” was a fabrication. Anderson sued the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office. He also successfully kept his job and security clearance.
Contact FL Drug Defense Group About Drug Charges
Do not let law enforcement bully you with made-up excuses; defend your rights in court and point out discrimination when it happens. Contact the Florida drug offenses attorneys at the FL Drug Defense Group to discuss your case.