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Albert M. Quirantes | Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer Office

What to Do If Stopped with a Passenger Carrying Cocaine in Miami, Florida

Finding yourself in a traffic stop is stressful enough, but the stakes are significantly higher if you’re unaware that a passenger is carrying cocaine or any illegal substance. In Miami, Florida, as in the rest of the U.S., the ramifications of being found with controlled substances can be severe. Here’s how to navigate this precarious situation.

1. Stay Calm and Compliant

First, remain calm. Your demeanor can impact the officer’s approach to the situation. Comply with basic requests such as providing your driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance. If asked to step out of the vehicle, do so without resistance. Remember, basic compliance does not mean consent to a search or admitting any wrongdoing.

2. Be Mindful of Your Words

You have the right to remain silent beyond providing your identification. Politely state, “I choose to exercise my right to remain silent.” Do not offer any information about where you’ve been, your relationship with the passenger, or any activities you’ve been involved in. Avoid making offhand comments; even seemingly innocent remarks can be misinterpreted.

3. Do Not Consent to a Search

If the officer asks to search your vehicle, know that you have the right to refuse. Politely say, “I do not consent to a search.” Without your consent, an officer needs probable cause to believe a crime has been committed or a warrant to search your car. Remember, the presence of a passenger doesn’t automatically give an officer the right to search your vehicle without consent, probable cause, or a warrant.

4. Request Legal Representation

Should the situation escalate, and it becomes apparent that you’re being detained or accused of a crime related to the cocaine your friend is carrying, assert your right to an attorney immediately. Say clearly, “I want to speak to an attorney.” Until your attorney is present, refrain from answering further questions.

5. After the Encounter

Whatever the outcome of the stop—whether it ends there or leads to further legal complications—contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can provide advice based on the specifics of your case, help you understand your rights, and begin crafting a defense strategy.

In scenarios involving controlled substances, the distinction between “actual possession” and “constructive possession” becomes crucial. If you genuinely were unaware of the cocaine, a skilled attorney could argue that you did not have actual or constructive possession of the drugs. Constructive possession would require knowledge of the substance, the ability to control it, and intent to control it, elements which, based on your account, you did not possess.

Being stopped by police in Miami, Florida, with a passenger carrying cocaine is a serious situation that requires careful navigation. Remembering your rights and how to exercise them can protect you in the moment and in any potential legal fallout.

For those facing such predicaments, Albert Quirantes Esq. Criminal DUI & Ticket Lawyers offer experienced legal defense in Miami, ready to advocate for your rights and work towards the best possible outcome. Contact us at (305) 644-1800 for immediate assistance.

Navigating the complexities of such encounters without compromising your rights is crucial. If there are more scenarios or legal questions you have in mind, feel free to ask.


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