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I was stopped in NJ at a DWI check point, searched for drugs and found to in possession for drugs,<50gms, what are my rights?

Linwood, NJ |

I was a passenger at a posted DWI check point. Driver passed sobriety tests, which were repeated for about an hour. Police surrounded the car insisting someone had drugs. Frisked one other occupant, brought and had a drug canine search the inside of the car, went to frisk me and I handed them less than 50 gms of marijuana and a pipe. Have 2 disorderly person charges. Can they do a drug search under while stopped at a DWI checkpoint?

Attorney Answers 3


This is not our typical checkpoint sobriety test. I am willing to bet you that there is more to the story than you are aware of. There is a good possibility that either you or the driver have been the subject of an ongoing drug investigation which resulted in the search you have described. I can only conjecture as to the potential reasons for the stop. Regardless, you are definitely going to need an attorney who will request discovery and ascertain whether the search was legal or not. If it was an illegal search, your lawyer will file a motion to suppress evidence as a result of the illegal search and seizure.

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In determining whether a police roadblock, or checkpoint, is reasonable or legitimate, the New Jersey courts look to the following factors: 1. The degree of discretion in making the stops left to the police officer in the field; 2. The location of the police roadblock and its the time and duration; 3. Procedures that police officers have to follow; 4. Advance notice to the public at large; 5. Advance warning to the individual approaching motorist; 6. Maintenance of safety conditions; 7. Degree of fear or anxiety generated by the mode of operation; 8. Average length of time each motorist is detained; 9. Physical factors surrounding the location, type and method of operation; 10. The availability of less intrusive methods for combating the problem; and 11. The degree of effectiveness of the police roadblock procedure.

This is a unique situation. You need to consult a NJ criminal lawyer to review the police report and evidence in this matter. If something was in plain view of the police, or if the police suspected that the passengers were under the influence of CDS, the search and seizure may be legitimate.

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Very interesting! One of the questions that will need to be investigated is what was the length of the roadside detention. A police stop should only take as long as to complete the purpose of the stop. Therefore, if this was a roadblock, the purpose would be to determine whether the driver was under the influence. Once it was determined that he was not, then he should have been let go.A nour is a pretty long time. Now if they made you guys wait until a dog came, that detention may be deemed unreasonable. On the other hand, if the dog was already there, then the length of the detention may have been reasonable.

Further, how did they get the passenger out of the car. New Jersey has very strict requirements which must be met before the police can ask an occupant out of a motor vehicle.

You need an attorney!

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