Laws are in place to protect individuals accused of crimes, which is why it is important to be familiar with the legal protections afforded through the criminal justice system. Following a recent traffic stop in Georgia, an NBA basketball player from another state is facing several criminal charges. The basketball player was charged with driving under the influence, possession of less than one ounce of marijuana and an additional traffic-related charge. According to the police report, a police officer was following the basketball player's vehicle when he observed that the tail lights on the player's vehicle were not working. The police officer also allegedly saw the basketball player's vehicle swerve from the right lane to the left lane and fail to maintain lane control following a turn.
According to law enforcement, once the police officer had pulled the basketball player over, he approached the vehicle from the passenger's side and noted a strong order of marijuana and allegedly noticed that the player's eyes were red. The basketball player was subjected to a series of field sobriety tests which he questioned the purpose of. He agreed to continue after the police officer apprised him the tests were being conducted to determine if he was a safe driver. According to the police officer, he determined that the basketball player was impaired and was "less safe" to drive based on his physical appearance.
Though the police officer reported that the basketball player told him he did not have marijuana in the car, and had handed over a tobacco substance the officer noted was consistent with cigar materials, the officers searched the vehicle and found a jar with a substance in it he believed to be consistent with marijuana in the trunk. No weapons or illegal substances were found on the basketball player when he was patted down. The basketball player refused to take a blood test and was arrested.
Individuals accused of a crime have layers of protections to help safeguard them against improper police procedures or other violations of their rights. When facing criminal charges, it is important to be familiar with these safeguards and how they may apply to your individualized circumstances.
Source: Newsnet5.com, "Cavs guard Iman Shumpert charged with DUI, drug possession following Georgia traffic stop," Justin Madden, et al., Sept. 9, 2016