A judge threw out drug charges after determining that an Illinois State Police trooper delayed a traffic stop for an unreasonable amount of time. The man was arrested after he attended a music festival in Urbana. The substances allegedly found included marijuana and psychedelic mushrooms.
Law enforcement personnel conducted a traffic stop on the man and his companions after they left the concert. They waited 25 minutes for a drug dog to come to the scene. The judge ruled that the dog's arrival took too long. The defense attorney added that the authorities had detained the alleged defendants based on their appearance.
During the stop, police complained that the front license plate was improperly attached. Authorities requested that a dog come to the scene, but all the animals in the area were engaged in other cases at the time.
Although the trooper suspected the vehicle's occupants may have been smoking marijuana, the recording further reveals that he knew he should not delay their release, had no further grounds for holding the subjects and did not smell drugs.
If convicted, the man who was pulled over could have been imprisoned for a maximum of five years. The judge ruled that the officer did not have a valid reason to detain the subjects and should have released them immediately.
Criminal defense attorneys can review the evidence obtained from traffic stops or search and seizures to ensure that a client's rights are protected. If the authorities overstep their boundaries without a valid legal reason, they will work to get any evidence suppressed in court.
Source: East Peoria Times-Courier, "Charges dropped in drug case," Andy Kravetz, Nov. 20, 2012