Interstate travel is common in the United States. The interstate highway system facilitates the easy flow of traffic across state lines. But, law enforcement may often conduct traffic stops on the highway. Residents of Georgia and many other states may be accused of violating some traffic law, leading to an investigatory stop.
The law places limits on the government’s authority to conduct these stops. An officer cannot lawfully pull over a car for no reason. But, law enforcement often uses traffic stops to transform a minor traffic violation into some other kind of probe. Again, constitutional principles apply to how these additional investigations can proceed.
As travelers cross through Georgia, visitors to the state may be hauled into the criminal justice system after a traffic stop. Law enforcement agencies along Interstate 75 say there has been a recent uptick in drug arrests among travelers in recent weeks.
On Monday, a Michigan teen was pulled over for allegedly speeding in Crisp County. A deputy thought that the 19-year-old was acting nervous in the face of law enforcement’s presence. Deputies decided to search the car. The teen is accused of unlawful possession of drugs in Georgia.
Turner County officials say that a traffic stop in I-75 led to the discovery of pot and cocaine in a vehicle traveling in the county two weeks ago. Deputies say that spring breakers may be traveling on the interstate, leading to a recent increase in people being slapped with drug charges.
Whether a person is from Georgia or from out of state, constitutional rights are an important thing to consider when law enforcement makes a drug arrest. Anyone accused of a crime in Georgia has the right to a criminal defense, regardless of whether the accused is a resident of the state or a visitor.
Source: WALB, “Traffic stops turn out to be drug arrests,” Devin Knight, April 2, 2014