Maryland residents who watched the HBO series 'The Wire" will likely be familiar with Sonja Sohn. The 55-year-old actress played Detective Kima Greggs on the hit crime drama, but she found herself on the other side of the law following a routine traffic stop during the early morning hours of July 21. Sohn was taken into custody by police in North Carolina after cocaine and marijuana were allegedly found in her purse. She faces a felony count of cocaine possession and misdemeanor counts of marijuana possession and possession of drug paraphernalia.
According to media reports, the car Sohn was traveling in was pulled over for an undisclosed motor vehicle violation in the vicinity of the Washington Baum Bridge at approximately 12:02 a.m. A Dare County Sheriff's Office deputy ordered a search of the vehicle and its occupants after a K-9 unit allegedly alerted to the presence of illegal drugs during an air sniff.
Sohn was taken into custody at the scene and transported to the Dare County Detention Center for processing. She was later released after posting a secured bond of $1,500. The person behind the wheel of the vehicle was cited for driving with a suspended driving license and an expired registration. Sohn declined to comment about the incident when questioned by reporters.
Police officers must have probable cause to believe that evidence of ongoing criminal activity will be discovered before they can perform a warrantless search. While an alert from a K-9 unit may provide such probable cause, experienced criminal defense attorneys could still seek to have drug charges dismissed when presented with facts like these. This is because the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that police may not prolong traffic stops unreasonably in order to summon drug-sniffing dogs to the scene.