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Posted by: Law Offices of George Vomvolakis on 08/29/2017

Two New York City Men Arrested for Cocaine Possession in Traffic Stop

Two New York City Men Arrested for Cocaine Possession in Traffic Stop

According to reporting from the Mahwah-Ramsey Daily Voice, two men from New York City were arrested for alleged possession of cocaine. The arrest came after police conducted a vehicle search during a “routine” traffic stop on Route 17 in northern New Jersey. The report indicates that uncut cocaine with a street value of $30,000 was recovered by officers after what was described as a “consented to” vehicle search. Here, a top-rated New York drug possession defense lawyer explains your legal rights and responsibilities regarding automobile searches.

Traffic Stop Vehicle Searches: Know Your Rights

New York Police Officers Cannot Pull You Over and Search Your Car Without Probable Cause

State and local police officers cannot stop and search any vehicle unless they have a just reason to do so. Under the law, probable cause is legally required. The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects you against unreasonable searches and seizures. This means that officers must have a reasonable suspicion of a crime to search through your car. What qualifies as a reasonable suspicion will depend entirely on the circumstances in question. Though, the Supreme Court is clear that a reasonable suspicion must be based on “specific and articulable facts" and not simply on a “hunch”. If officers claim they have probable cause, but they lack a warrant, they will be required to prove that their actions were based on reasonable suspicions in court.

You Have the Right to Refuse a Search

If an officer requests to conduct a search of your vehicle, you have the legal right to say no. In the aforementioned case from Route 17 in New Jersey, the reporting states that the search was “consented to” by the driver of the car. If you consent to a search, then you are waiving your fourth amendment rights. Once an officer gets your permission to search your vehicle, they have the right to do so. It must be noted that New York police officers will almost never tell you that you are allowed to refuse a vehicle search request. In fact, police officers often use tactics and strategies to subtly pressure people into consenting to a search when it is not in their interest to do so. You should always hold your ground: You have the right to decline a search.

If the Police Search Your Vehicle Over Your Refusal, Get a Lawyer

In many cases, a driver will say no to a search request, but police officers will go through with the search anyway, without having probable cause to do so. This is unlawful. Remain polite, but make sure that officers are aware of the fact that you are not consenting to the search. If you believe that this happened in your case, you need to speak to an experienced criminal defense lawyer immediately. Your lawyer may be able to get any evidence recovered by police as a result of an illegal search thrown out of court. This could lead to the drug possession charges that were brought against you being dismissed.