Immigration Checkpoints

If you’ve been caught at an Arizona Immigration Checkpoint…

It happens time and time again. The police set up immigration checkpoints along Arizona highways — especially on I-8, I-10, I-15 and I-40. They find a reason to stop almost every rental car traveling through the state. Why? They’re looking for drugs.

If you have been stopped, cited or arrested at a immigration or border patrol checkpoint, you must act quickly. Contact the team of experienced Pheonix, AZ drug search and seizure attorneys at Cates & Garvey Law Group, PLLC, in Phoenix, by calling us toll free at (602) 296-3434.

A Typical Border Patrol Checkpoint Scenario

You are driving down I-8 in your rental car and come up to a border patrol checkpoint. As you stop they run a drug dog around your car or they ask you to pull over for secondary search. The dog alerts and you are removed from your car, your belongings searched and drugs found. Even a very small amount can be detected by drug dogs. You are cited and released if they only find a small amount. If they find a large quantity they arrest you and take you to jail. If only a small amount of drugs are found you will be required to appear in the Wellton Justice Court in Wellton, Arizona.

We have had good success at handling these matters and may be able to arrange it so you do not have to come back to Wellton for court. If a large amount of drugs are found you will have an initial appearance within 24 hours and a judge will determine your release conditions and you will end up having to appear in Yuma County Superior Court. You will have to be present at most of your hearings in Yuma County Superior Court.

Drug Dogs Aren’t Always Right

Often, at border patrol checkpoints, police and U.S. border patrol agents will bring drug dogs around all the cars. If the dogs alert, it could lead to your arrest. At Cates & Garvey Law Group, PLLC, our Phoenix, AZ criminal lawyers have had past successes challenging the use of drug dogs to discover drugs.

While these dogs are used often at immigration checkpoints, they’re not always right. Sometimes drug dogs are improperly trained. They may be overworked or triggered into alerting by their over-eager handlers.  Even though the Supreme Court recently ruled for the first time that a drug dog’s alert is enough to justify a vehicle and or body search on its own.  One problem with that position is that such tests are often so poorly designed that it’s impossible to say whether the dog is detecting drugs or reacting to its handler’s cues. If a drug dog was used in your case, we’ll look carefully to make sure that your rights weren’t violated. And we’ll make that evidence from an illegal search and seizure never enters the courtroom.

If You’ve Been Arrested at an Immigration Checkpoint

If you have been arrested at an immigration checkpoint, you may have to appear at a court — like the Wellton Justice Court, Yuma County Superior Court, Holbrook Justice Court or the Navajo County Superior Court — miles from where you actually live. Understandably, this can be a frightening experience.

Our Phoenix, AZ search & seizure lawyers are experienced in the local rules and customs of these courts, and are ready to travel anywhere in Arizona to handle your matter. Contact the lawyers at Cates & Garvey Law Group, PLLC by calling us toll free during business hours at (602) 296-3434. Initial consultations are free and confidential.


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