Know Your Utah Criminal Rights on the Highway

Drug Stops in Utah

Utah has a couple of interstate highways that are considered by law enforcement and many judges to be “drug pipelines.”  Specifically, I-80 and I-70 are considered drug pipelines and are monitored by patrolled heavily by Utah Highway Patrol.  I-80 runs through the north central portion of Utah and goes right through Salt Lake City and into Wyoming.  I-70 runs through the south central portion of Utah and into Colorado.

Utah Highway Patrol and other law enforcement agencies make it a habit to pull over cars carrying an out of state license plate.  It is easy to pull a car over.  Almost anything constitutes reasonable suspicion to stop a car.  A tail light that it out, a broken window, speeding, following too close, and other traffic offenses.  Utah law enforcement knows how easy it is to pull someone over so they will profile drivers and determine if they look like a potential drug carrier or user.  They will then feign a reason to pull someone over and commence searching a vehicle.

Marijuana Odor and Alcohol Odor is Enough to Search

Law enforcement need only smell the odor of alcohol or marijuana to search a car.  Worse yet, law enforcement can legally run a drug sniffing dog around your car without your permission so long as the duration of the stop is not extended by the drug dog search.  What this means is that if you are traveling through Utah and you have marijuana or other drugs in your car, be careful.  If you become a target of a patrolling law enforcement officer they will find a way to search your vehicle.

Remember Your Rights

If you are pulled over in Utah, never admit anything to a cop.  Never let them know you have drugs in your car.  Better yet, never admit anything.  If they want to know where you are going you don’t have to tell them.  Politely ask them why you were pulled over and hand them your registration and license.  After they run your information to see if you have any outstanding warrants and they come back to your car, do not talk to them about anything you are doing.  Politely decline, ask for your ticket, and be on your way. Never consent to law enforcement searching your vehicle either.

In a majority of the vehicle drug cases we see, the defendant made some type of admission to the police officer.  There is no sense helping law enforcement prove their case against you.  The rule of thumb should be to keep your mouth shut.

In the event you did not rely on your right to remain silent or you consented to the police searching your car, call us.  Our criminal defense lawyers may be able to protect you in spite of the fact that you did not assert your rights.

We’re available any time.  801.413.1753.