Seeing Montana squad car lights in your rearview mirror for no apparent reason can be terrifying. The dread goes a step further when the police search your vehicle per a warrant that you have no cause to suspect exists.

Law enforcement officers can get information from a variety of sources, including other suspects in related crimes. Prosecutors will sometimes offer reduced charges to a person in exchange for information on another, and unbeknownst to the third party, this might lead to a judge issuing a warrant for a search.

This is precisely what happened to a woman recently sentenced to just over one year in prison for possessing a large quantity of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, according to KPAX.com. The police had a warrant to search the vehicle and made the traffic stop after she crossed the Washington-Montana state line. KPAX reported that law enforcement obtained the order after they “received information” of the woman’s alleged drug transporting. It is unknown how they received the information, nor what steps they took to verify its accuracy.

If state or local police do not have personal foreknowledge of a suspect’s involvement in illegal activity, the warrant must originate from a reliable source. It then stands to reason that information obtained by the prosecutor from an individual under pressure to relieve him- or herself from criminal charges may not always be reliable. If the prosecution then uses that information to rush through the process of obtaining the warrant, it is possible to skip vital steps, thus making any evidence obtained by law enforcement inadmissible.

If law enforcement arrests you on drug charges and they have failed to perform due diligence to ensure that the information is accurate and reliable, you deserve the benefit of the doubt. Visit our webpage for more information on improper drug arrest procedures.