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Could an arrest on low-level drug charges lead to drug court?

It may surprise our New Jersey readers how sometimes the simplest things can lead to huge problems. For instance, on September 7 a broken brake light on a vehicle led to a drug crimes arrest in Newton, New Jersey.

According to the reports, a 21-year-old man was driving through Newton in the early morning hours on that date when an officer on patrol noticed the broken brake light on the man's vehicle. Obviously, police officers don't always pull someone over for this type of infraction, but for the suspect in this case, it led to all kinds of trouble when the officer conducted a traffic stop.

During the stop, the reports indicate that the suspect was found to be in possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. However, there are no details as to how the illegal drugs were allegedly discovered. Typically a police officer doesn't ask someone to get out of their car during a routine traffic stop, and they also don't typically ask for permission to search the person's vehicle. But, one way or another, it appears that some type of search was conducted in this case. The legality of any search may be questioned as part of anyone's criminal defense strategy.

For the time being, however, this man is now facing several drug charges. The charges appear to be of the low-level variety, so, depending on the man's criminal history, there may be a chance that his case will go through drug court. Drug court presents an opportunity for someone charged with a crime related to illegal drugs to receive substance abuse treatment instead of facing jail time. It is a concept based on the idea that for some people the best way to address their illegal behavior is to address their addictions.

Source: New Jersey Herald, "Broken brake light leads to arrest," Sept. 8, 2014

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