From Iceland — Court Confirms: Police Cannot Arrest You For Being A Suspected Drug User

Court Confirms: Police Cannot Arrest You For Being A Suspected Drug User

Published March 25, 2016

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Art Bicnick

A court decision on a 2013 arrest has set a new precedent in Iceland regarding drug use and the power to arrest.

RÚV reports that the arrest in question took place in east Iceland in December 2013. Police in Egilsstaðir received a tip that an unnamed individual was a known consumer of cannabis products. Acting on the tip, an officer pulled the suspect over as he was driving a work vehicle in the middle of the day to nearby Fellabær.

The suspect was told why he was stopped, and he was then taken to a police station to undergo a urine test. No drugs were found in his system, and he was subsequently released from custody.

The suspect filed a suit against the state, saying he was unlawfully detained. The officer involved denied this, saying the suspect went willingly to the station.

The court, however, disagreed with the officer, ruling that he had detained the suspect on very questionable grounds. Even if the accusation against the suspect were true, being a user of drugs in the general sense does not give a police officer grounds alone to pull someone over under suspicion of driving under the influence, the court ruled. As such, the now-former suspect was awarded 200,000 ISK in damages.

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