Penalties for drug crimes, especially when the charge is possession with intent to sell, drug distribution or drug trafficking, are harsh in New Jersey. Many of these charges result from lengthy police investigations and home raids, but many others result from traffic stops.

If you are facing a drug charge after a traffic stop in New Jersey, then talk as soon as possible with a criminal defense lawyer who knows how to challenge the legitimacy of the traffic stop, as well as the legitimacy of the search and seizure. The truth is that many traffic stops and searches are illegal because police officers violate drivers’ rights and make mistakes in procedure.

For example, just because your headlight was out, you were speeding, you didn’t fully stop at a stop sign or you’re accused of some other traffic violation does not automatically mean that the officer on the scene can search you or your car. First, the officer must have probable cause to pull you over. Then, there must be additional probable cause for the officer to perform a search.

If your defense attorney can show that the officer lacked probable cause to search your vehicle, then any evidence seized during the search, along with any subsequent evidence seized from your residence or other location, may be suppressed from the court record.

In other words, the prosecution’s evidence against you may be inadmissible in court, and the charge may be dropped or dismissed. This strategy of defense has been successful in many cases.

The key to mounting a strong defense is to work with an experienced lawyer. In fact, innocent people are convicted of crimes every year, and the difference between a positive and a negative outcome could be your choice in attorneys.