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Did your friend get you in trouble for crack possession?

Let's say you're riding with a friend in his car on the way to work in the morning. You've done it every day for years because it's a great way to save on gas and tolls. Unbeknownst to you, though, your friend is addicted to crack cocaine. The drug, as well as several crack pipes, are rolling around underneath your passenger seat.

One day, police pull your friend over for speeding, and before you know it, you're outside the car while police and their dogs nose through every nook and cranny of the vehicle. In no time at all, they pull out the crack pipes and crack cocaine. They were right under your seat, so the officer is looking at you.

Both you and your friend get arrested and booked at the county jail. Now, you're facing drug possession and paraphernalia possession charges in court.

Guilty by association? These cases aren't uncommon

The above situation was hypothetical, but something similar might have happened to you - just as it did for a couple of people early in March 2017.

The incident happened after a Tennessee driver blew through a stop sign, resulting in a traffic stop. Police say that two people in the van looked "overly nervous," so they searched the vehicle for contraband.

Inside, they allegedly found two crack pipes. Inside the underwear of one of the men, police say they found a lot of little baggies filled with suspected crack cocaine. They arrested that man and charged him with Schedule II drug possession and intent to deliver, and drug paraphernalia possession.

Based on information from the traffic stop, police continued to a nearby residence, where they arrested three more people. They found 97 grams of crack cocaine inside the home, in addition to marijuana, small plastic baggies and a scales. Police proceeded to arrest the homeowner and two people inside the home on federal charges that included: drug paraphernalia possession, drug manufacturing, crack cocaine sales, maintaining a drug house and marijuana possession.

There's no way to tell at this point if the two people who were not in charge of the residence were only visiting and not guilty of any drug crimes. Indeed, it's possible that these people were merely visiting the wrong friend at the wrong time.

Innocent until proven guilty

Fortunately, everyone accused of a drug crime in Tennessee will have the ability to defend themselves, with the assistance of a criminal defense attorney, against their accusations in court. Furthermore, the court will not see accused persons as guilty, nor will it punish them, until - and only if - they are proved to be guilty beyond a reasonable dou bt.

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