Arizona Border Stop Attorney Protects Your Rights
Aggressive defense against border stop drug charges
You were stopped at the border. You were checked to make certain that you weren’t transporting an illegal immigrant or engaging in the transportation of illegal immigrants. In the meantime, the U.S. Border Patrol brought out the drug-sniffing dogs. They searched your vehicle. They said they found drugs. You were charged with a drug crime.
At the Law Office of Phil Hineman, P.C., we know how to defend against drug charges issued at Border Patrol checkpoints in Wellton (on Interstate 8) and elsewhere in Arizona. These are challenging cases, but with more than 28 years of experience on our side, we can get results.
The U.S. Border Patrol has the right to stop you
The intention of Border Patrol checkpoints is to prevent illegal immigration. The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and Border Patrol have been granted this right. They also have the right to check for other criminal activity, including:
- Illegal immigration — In fiscal year 2017, the U.S. Border Patrol apprehended more than 300,000 persons for illegal entry at the border. This was down from more than 415,000 in fiscal year 2016.
- Drug smuggling — In fiscal year 2017, the U.S. Border Patrol made 861,231 seizures of marijuana, 10,328 seizures of methamphetamine and 9,346 seizures of cocaine.
- Human trafficking — According to the U.S. Department of State, “Mexico is a large source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor.” Girls as young as 11 to 14 are brought across the border for use in the sex trade.
The Border Patrol constitutionally has the right to set up checkpoints within 100 miles of the border and make routine stops. Its agents can use drug-sniffing dogs and handheld devices called Busters that can detect vehicle structure anomalies. Agents may also have x-ray and gamma ray scanning systems. If Border Patrol agents discover probable cause, they can get a warrant to perform a complete search of a vehicle. If they find drugs, they can arrest and charge people for possessing or transporting marijuana, cocaine or any other illegal substance.
You have the right to fight back
Although the Border Patrol often acts like it has unchecked authority in the 100-mile zone, there are limits to what agents can do. They cannot randomly pull vehicles over without reasonable suspicion away from a checkpoint, but if you were stopped at a checkpoint and arrested for drug possession, it may seem that the odds are stacked against you. However, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you fight the charges against you.
For example, a drug possession charge requires “knowing” possession. That means if another party stashed the drugs in your vehicle without your knowledge, you were not in possession. It’s called being a “blind mule.” The burden falls on you to prove that you didn’t know, and this can be a difficult task, but it is not always impossible.
When you choose our law firm, you have the advantage of being represented by Phil Hineman, a former criminal prosecutor. This background is very important. It means that we know how the opposition handles these cases. It also means that we know what works against them. You can be confident that we can effectively and efficiently protect your rights.
Contact us for a free consultation and fast action
Call the Law Office of Phil Hineman, P.C. today at 928-257-1155 or contact us online to discuss your case with an experienced lawyer serving Yuma and the surrounding parts of Arizona. We handle all drug crimes cases and ensure that your rights are thoroughly protected.