Interstate 80 (I-80) in Nebraska is patrolled daily by law enforcement looking for contraband. Oftentimes, we hear about cases with large drug busts on I-80, such as the recent bust of 2,000 pounds of marijuana valued at $5 million. But we hear little about are the traffic stops involving gun and cash seizures.
In federal criminal courts, it’s pretty clear that guns and drugs don’t mix, but prosecutors often overreach and try to connect cash and guns to drugs. Sometimes the connection is legitimate as law enforcement obtains search warrants to search cell phones from passengers who have large amounts of cash or firearms. However, large amounts of cash and firearms are not necessarily consistent with drug dealing.
The right to cash and the right to bear arms
While electronic transfers are the current trend such as credit cards or Venmo, there’s nothing illegal about possessing cash in the state of Nebraska. When the state patrol stops a car, one of the routine questions asked is whether the driver is carrying a large amount of cash even though it’s none of their business.
Similar to the cash question, police routinely ask if there is a firearm in the vehicle. If law enforcement hears that there is a large amount of cash or a firearm, they may begin to search a car without a warrant, permission, or probable cause that a crime has taken place.
What about the concealed weapon violation?
Most innocent motorists who exercise their 2nd Amendment right to possess firearms rarely think twice before packing a gun into a suitcase or storing it in a place where it is not out in the open when traveling. However, it is illegal to have a concealed weapon in a vehicle. If that firearm is readily accessible but hidden, it is treated as a concealed weapon which is a Class 1 misdemeanor in Nebraska and carries to up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
In one case Berry Law Firm successfully defended the out of state driver, who had a gun in a gun safe in the passenger seat of the vehicle. The state patrol thought it was a concealed weapon, even though the firearm was stored in a safe that required a combination. The driver was simply moving across the country and wanted to bring his firearm with him. The state patrol ultimately lost the case because the weapon wasn’t readily available.
But what about large amounts of cash?
Law enforcement on I-80 believe that drugs go east and money goes west. A lot of people who travel carry significant amounts of cash in case they run into trouble where they need it such as losing a credit card, credit card not working, or a spouse maxing out the credit card.
This isn’t much different than those who feel safe carrying a gun with a valid concealed carry permit. Berry Law Firm has multiple attorneys with concealed carry permits and have felt safe carrying a gun since their deployment.
Lawyers, guns and money
Ultimately the 4th Amendment guarantees freedom against unreasonable search and seizures. Criminal defense lawyers are often experts in the area of constitutional law and can easily detect an unlawful search or arrest. At Berry Law Firm, we have defended individual’s rights to carry cash and firearms, including people with numerous guns or millions of dollars in cash.
If the government has taken your firearms, money, or you have been the subject of an unlawful search and seizure, contact the aggressive experienced criminal defense attorneys at Berry Law Firm.