Courts We Serve
Woodbridge Marijuana Distribution Arrest Warrants Discussion Of Search & Seizure
Sometimes you just have to shake your head when you read about why someone was drawn to the attention of police. The most recent incident of this nature is out of Woodbridge where two out-of-state residents had an encounter with police as a result of littering at the Thomas Edison Service Area. The ensuing investigation resulted in seizure of approximately fifty (50) pounds of marijuana and charges for distribution of marijuana in the first degree. Bail was set at $300,000. The defendants now face penalties that include 10-20 years in state prison.
Although the service area in question was located in Woodbridge, it falls under the jurisdiction of the state police as part of the New Jersey Turnpike. These installations are routinely patrolled in hopes of yielding arrests since it is well known that individuals trafficking marijuana and other drugs from other states travel along this interstate roadway. This is precisely what occurred here and I am certain the Virginia/Washington D.C. license plate on the car in this case garnered enticement. It is also common for buyers and sellers to meet at this Woodbridge New Jersey location to engage in drug activities and for motorists to be arrested following hand-to-hand transactions.
The police in this case nor any other have a right to search or arrest someone without probable cause. Probable cause is specific facts which would lead to the reasonable belief that drugs or other evidence of illegal activities exist in a motor vehicle or other area protected by an expectation of privacy. There must also be a reasonable suspicion of a violation of law before a driver may be stopped. In this particular Woodbridge case, littering was allegedly observed and this is certainly illegal. This was the basis for police to investigate. There must have been facts which were thereafter revealed to support a constitutionally valid search of the car, for example, the presence of drugs in plain view, a strong odor of marijuana, or some other evidence pointing to the fact that there was controlled dangerous substances in the car.
Another relevant issue to address relative to these charges is field interrogation. In this regard, police are allowed to make a reasonable inquiry of a driver but cannot conduct a de facto arrest or engage in tactics which are tantamount to custody without probable cause to arrest. So when these marijuana possessors in Woodbridge were questioned by the officer, it would not have been proper for them to be held without probable cause or otherwise confined without a valid basis to believe that something serious enough to warrant them be charged with a criminal offense had occurred. Littering would not represent such an infraction. There must have been more upon arrival at the scene for the trooper to limit the motorists ability to move freely beyond the time necessary to check credentials and issue a summons for littering. He claims that he observed marijuana in plain view, something that would provide a basis to arrest.
If you had the unfortunate experience of being charged with a marijuana offense like these individuals, it should be clear that the law affords you numerous protections. The key to taking advantage of these rights is hiring an attorney who is both knowledgeable and committed to fighting for you. The marijuana distribution attorneys at Marshall Bonus Proetta & Oliver have these attributes to help you. Our staff even includes Jason Seidman, the former director of the Gangs, Guns and Drugs Task Force of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office. Call one of our offices anytime 24/7 for a free initial consultation.