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New York police arrest driver for drug possession after stop

In this blog, we previously discussed how police officers must have reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed to stop a vehicle. In many cases, drug arrests stem from routine traffic stops that result in a search of the driver's vehicle. Generally, an officer is allowed to search a vehicle if the driver gave consent to do so, the officer has a valid search warrant or the officer has probable cause to believe there is evidence of a crime in a vehicle. However, if an officer unlawfully searches a vehicle, any evidence they find relating to potential drug crimes may be thrown out of the case.

New York State Police recently pulled over a 23-year-old driver for a traffic violation and ended up arresting him for drug possession. Once the officers stopped the driver, they allegedly discovered that he was driving on a suspended license and searched his vehicle.

Their investigation apparently uncovered 15.6 grams of marijuana in two plastic bags, 12 grams of marijuana in a third bag, 1.4 grams of MDMA root extract, 0.9 grams of white crystal MDMA and 4.3 grams of cocaine. The officers also may have uncovered various drug paraphernalia, including plastic baggies, two smoking pipes with drug residue on them and an electronic scale.

Based on the quantity of drugs reportedly found, the man faces misdemeanor possession charges, including a fifth-degree criminal charge for having more than 25 grams of marijuana and felony possession charges, including a fourth-degree criminal charge for possessing a stimulant and two counts of third-degree charges for possessing a hallucinogenic substance. If one is facing misdemeanor or felony drug charges, a criminal defense attorney can review a case and determine whether the officer who searched the vehicle was within their legal rights to do so. If the search is unconstitutional, an attorney can help make sure the illegally obtained evidence is not used against the accused in court.

Source: The Daily Star, "Traffic stop leads to felony drug charges," March 31, 2018

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