The Austin American-Statesman reported on March 27 that two people possibly connected to identity theft cases across Texas were arrested after officers from the Williamson County Criminal Interdiction Unit stopped their vehicle in the 5300 block of Interstate 35 (I-35) North. A press release from the sheriff’s office claimed that both the 28-year-old driver and 26-year-old passenger “showed deception during a roadside interview.”
The driver provided consent to search the car and officers found about 67 gift cards, stolen Texas driver’s licenses and stolen Social Security cards, 97 newly purchased clothing items with the tags still on, a new iPad and Apple Watch, five oxycodone/oxycontin pills, and 2 ½ Xanax pills, according to the Statesman. KVUE-TV reported that the driver and passenger were linked to several identity theft cases throughout Texas and both have pending warrants from other counties.
The press release stated that the passenger tried to run away but was arrested a short time later, while the driver was arrested without incident. The driver was charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance, fraudulent use of identifying information, and 14 counts of credit card abuse. The passenger was charged with nine counts of credit card abuse, five counts of theft, possession of a controlled substance and fraudulent use of identifying information. Both sets of charges were brought by several different agencies in Texas as well as the Williamson County Sheriff.
Attorney for Illegal Searches in Georgetown
Many people become understandably nervous during interactions with police officers, but it is important for everybody to remember that you always have the right to refuse to refuse to consent to any searches of your vehicle. Law enforcement does not inform individuals of these rights and officers are often still able to find loopholes to exploit when people refuse to consent to searches of their vehicles.
If you are pulled over, it is always in your best interest exercise your Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination by refusing to answer any questions without legal counsel. You will not harm yourself by not saying anything.
The easiest way for police officers to legally search motor vehicles it to get the consent of the drivers or vehicle owners. Without consent, law enforcement may need a warrant that authorizes a search of the vehicle.
Police can also legally search an alleged offender’s vehicle when the search is incident to that alleged offender’s lawful arrest. One of the most common ways that officers conduct legal searches of vehicles is through a probable cause exception, with the alleged smell of marijuana inside the vehicle being one of the most frequent reasons provided.
The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects your rights against unreasonable searches and seizures. When law enforcement conducts searches that violate the Fourth Amendment, any evidence of an alleged crime that is seized during the search may be suppressed and inadmissible in court.
If you were arrested for any kind of alleged criminal offense as the result of a search of your vehicle or other property, you will want to seek legal representation as soon as possible. Georgetown criminal defense attorney Michael J. Price aggressively defends residents of and visitors to communities throughout Williamson County.