Two Lakewood men arrested for possession of drugs that were found in their vehicle have learned that New Jersey’s Supreme Court has ruled that the drugs were improperly obtained. A Justice concluded by a unanimous court that since the prosecutors could not produce evidence or additional witnesses on why the vehicle was initially stopped when the incident occurred that the trial judge had no choice but to suppress the evidence as no credible justification was offered on why the two men had been stopped.
An Alleged Broken Headlight Leads to an Arrest
The police that had stopped them in the first place claimed that they pulled over the men because of a headlight that was out on the vehicle and that the driver had been acting evasively when they were spotted. It was at this point that the officers became aware of a scent of marijuana, which led them to get a warrant which allowed them to search the vehicle. It was at this point that the police found marijuana as well as cocaine inside the car and charged the men with both possession as well as intent to distribute. In the state of New Jersey, possession with intent to distribute is considered to be a second-degree offense, one that is punishable with a prison sentence of anywhere from five to ten years.
It was after being arrested that the two men argued that their headlight was not in fact out and that the act of them being pulled over was unconstitutional due to them not giving the police any reason to pull them over. In light of this fact they believed that the evidence that was found on their persons should ultimately be suppressed due to what they considered an unlawful stop. The officers in turn argued that under New Jersey state law they are legally allowed to pull over a vehicle if they have reasonable suspicion that any motor vehicle or criminal violation had occurred, in addition they stated that the warrant that was issued justified any actions that occurred afterwards including finding the narcotics in their car.
Due to their belief that the stopping of the vehicle was lawful and that they legally found the drugs after requesting a warrant the prosecutors brought no witnesses or additional evidence to the evidence hearing that was held. It was at this point that the Justice stated that the State had to prove that the seizure of the drugs was legitimate due to a lawful stoppage by the officers, and in light of the facts they could not conclude that this was the case. This led to the court suppressing the evidence that was found in the vehicle despite the warrant that was issued prior to the officers finding them.
Always Consult With a New Jersey Attorney No Matter How Dire Your Circumstances May Seem
No one is above the law, and if you or a loved one finds yourself in a situation such as this you need a knowledgeable attorney who knows how to handle these charges and can fight for you in court. Contact attorney Jill R. Cohen by calling 856-754-5501 to schedule a consultation today.
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