Your Rights If The Police Stop Or Arrest You For Suspected Drug Offences

Whether you are on a drug rehab program, about to start one, or still in the unfortunate situation where drugs have their iron grip on you, such as an ice addiction, there is the possibility that you may be stopped or arrested by the police. This can happen to those who are known to the police for previous drug offenses, and they may suspect that you are either still using, or worse, dealing drugs.

If you have never been stopped by the police previously, the first time it happens can be a worrying experience. One of the first pieces of advice we will give you is that you should do nothing that gives the police reason to suspect you further. This includes trying to run away, even if you are completely innocent and are not in possession of any drugs.

The first impression you give the police is also a signal to them so there is nothing to be gained by being confrontational or overly aggressive, even if you feel them stopping you is unwarranted. In almost all cases, if you are innocent and are not in possession of drugs, you are likely to be sent on your way.

That being said, it does serve you to know your rights when the police stop you, and more so if they wish to carry out a search if they suspect you are in possession of drugs. Firstly, you have the right to saying nothing to the police, other than to confirm your name and address. If they start asking you questions during the initial stop you have the right to remain silent and not answer them.

As for searches, these are categorised into two categories which are personal searches and property searches. A personal search involves search your clothing, and in certain scenarios, it can also include searches in body cavities. Property searches are those conducted in your home or your car, for example. One point to bear in mind is that the police cannot simply demand to search you in the street except for specific reasons laid down in law. These are:

  • To ensure the security of public places
  • To protect a young person, such as a child
  • To look for items that may have been used in the committing of a crime
  • The police suspect that you are about to commit a crime

If the police take you into custody in order to conduct a personal search, they do not need a warrant, which is not the case if they wish to conduct property searches. If they suspect you have drugs at your home or in a vehicle that you own, they must obtain a warrant for any searches conducted within them.

As for a personal search, you have the right to request that another person is present during the search, provided that they do not interfere with the search, or try to stop the police from conducting the search. This person can be a lawyer, a friend, or a family member.

You also have the right to request that a doctor or a person of the same gender is present for searches that require you to remove clothing and be subject to a body cavity search. As for the police, they must have an evidence officer present who records any evidence found during the search. At all times you should try to stay as calm as possible, and remember, your right to remain silence still exists during any search which takes place.

Your Rights If The Police Stop Or Arrest You For Suspected Drug Offences