When driving down Interstate 90 it is not unusual to see an out of state vehicle pulled over, trunk open, and occupants sitting handcuffed in the ditch, as troopers dig through the vehicle in an apparent search for drugs. South Dakota has drug interdiction officers who pull vehicles over for speeding, following too closely, or some other minor traffic infraction. Sometimes the trooper follows an out of state vehicle for miles, usually a rented car, pulls next to it in the passing lane, studies the driver and occupants. Sometimes the trooper claims the driver looked over and such is “unusual”, other times claiming the driver did not look over and such is “unusual” and then pulls the car over. The driver is brought back to the patrol vehicle to be given a “warning” and then questioned about destination, origin, plans, length of trip. Passengers are also questioned.
There is often a drug dog in the back of the patrol vehicle. The officer notes that the driver’s carotid artery is pounding, evidentially visible in either the neck or the stomach below the shirt, which the officer contends indicates extreme nervousness. Then the officer asks if there are any drugs or large sums of money in the car. When the driver says no, the trooper finally asks for consent to quickly search the car. When the driver says no, the trooper runs his dog around the car, the dog purportedly alerts to the smell of drugs, and the car is searched. If the driver consents to the search before the dog sniff, the trooper searches. Either way a search occurs.
In such a case, a dismissal is generally filed. Also, even if it is a situation where it is not possible to suppress evidence RENSCH LAW has resolved many cases over the years involving drug possession during a highway stop where the person charged learned their lesson, changed their ways, and went on to a successful productive life—students, business people, housewives, tourists.
Highway Drug Stops & Drug Dog Sniffs
If you or someone you love has been charged with a crime arising from a highway stop, RENSCH LAW has defended many individuals charged with drug possession, conspiracy, or the like. RENSCH LAW has challenged many dog sniff and highway stop cases. RENSCH LAW has won suppression motions which threw out evidence in cases. When evidence is thrown out, it cannot be used against a person to prove the commission of a crime.
RENSCH LAW will use its collective experience and knowledge to help put people in the best position it can under the circumstances. Please remember, each case is different and rises or falls on its own merits. Results cannot be guaranteed because each case, and the personalities of those involved within it, are different. While RENSCH LAW has won suppression motions, it has also lost them. While many people have been helped in a positive way, people have also gone to prison for a long time. It is a very dangerous charge.
Many times in this area we have Interstate 90, and people will get pulled over on Interstate 90 for a number of infractions. And the reality of it is, that the highway patrol man who pulls you over is really not too worried about the infractions. He is a drug interdiction officer.
And he will be attempting to develop reasonable suspicion as to why he could run his drug dog around your car, or possibly search your car, or possibly ask you for consent to search your car. Here at Rensch Law we’ve handled many of those cases. Gotten drugs suppressed, gotten charges thrown out. And if we can’t do that, we can work out an agreement that puts a person in a much better position than they would be otherwise.
So if you’re one of those folks who’s been stopped out on the highway know this. I’ve tried those cases, I suppressed the evidence in many of those cases. I’ve taken those cases to the South Dakota Supreme Court, and we know that law, inside and out. If there’s a way to turn it to your advantage, I’ll do it.
Drugs: Possession of drugs in their many and various forms often result in criminal charges against the person found in possession of those drugs. Whether it be marijuana or other substances, the gravamen is knowledge. One must be in “knowing” possession or possess a drug “knowingly.”
South Dakota is also the only state in the union which defines possession to include a positive drug test. This means if a person tests positive for a certain drug because it exists within the body, such constitutes possession of the drug under state law. For example, if a urinalysis shows the metabolites or marijuana, you can be charged with possession the same way you could be if you had a baggie of the drug in your hand.
The good news is that recent changes in the criminal laws and in the sentencing practices are such that the focus is on rehabilitation instead of incarceration. While prison is still possible, and some jail time is probable, if a person is ready to seek treatment and mend their ways, the system will recognize sincere attempts to do so. RENSCH LAW can help you or your loved one through these charges. If RENSCH LAW can find a defense we are fully capable of trying a jury trial asserting said defense.
If a person has a drug problem and wants help with the plea, sentencing, and rehabilitation process, we have the resources and experience to guide you through and advise you accordingly. RENSCH LAW routinely handles drug cases in both state and federal courts and has tried federal drug conspiracies, federal possession charges, and state drug cases as well.