The seventh annual Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival rolled out its most diverse lineup yet for 2008, with Metallica, Pearl Jam, Kanye West, Willie Nelson, Jack Johnson and My Morning Jacket among the acts on the bill for the June 12-15 event in Manchester, Tenn. We hope everyone who was in attendance enjoyed the show and made it home safely.
We have had several calls already to our office regarding people who were stopped, searched, and charged with drug crimes on their way to and back from the show. Even when driving to and away from Bonnaroo, you always have the right to be free from illegal search and seizure. Calls with people arrested for possession of marijuana (marihuana), mushrooms, ecstacy, lsd, etc. are common to our office both during and immediately following the show. There are lots of things the police might do to trick you into giving up these rights (like threatening to call drug sniffing dogs), but you always have the right to say no to illegal searches.
If you are stopped, the police may bring a “drug sniffing” dog to your car. You need to pay attention to the particular actions of the dog.
In 2005, the United States Supreme Court held in the case of Illinois v. Caballes that when a trained drug dog sniffs a persons automobile, there is no search. As a result, no constitutional violation occurs. This is the case even if the police have absolutely no reason to suspect you may be carrying illegal contraband whatsoever.
A dogs accuracy may be challenged in court and may be a way of proving that a search was in fact illegal. There are several decisions which have led to the suppression of evidence based on a dogs inaccuracy.
Further, always be polite when dealing with law enforcement, but be aware you always have the right to say NO when an officer asks if he can search your car. If you tell an officer no, and he searches your car anyway- you may have been the victim of an illegal search and seizure.
Also, you may have been assessed under the “drug tax” or “crack tax” as it is known in Tennessee. You need to protect your rights if this is the case so that you don’t lose any right to challenge the assessment or the seizure in court at a later date.
Our office handles many cases from Bonnaroo each year. Dealing with both criminal charges and persons assessed under the Tennessee “drug tax” or “crack tax”. See the article below from the New York Times regarding one of our clients who was wrongfully assessed under these taxes while at Bonnaroo.
Please feel free to contact us for a free consultation at 615-428-0100 if you got into a little trouble during your time in Tennessee. We will be glad to talk to you and see if we can help you with your problem.
Good luck and hope to see you next year.