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Drugs in a Motor Vehicle

We have successfully defended our clients against thousands of Criminal, DWI, and Municipal Court charges throughout Hudson County and New Jersey.

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North Bergen NJ CDS in MV Lawyers

If you were pulled over and illegal drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, heroin, painkillers or xanax were found in your vehicle, it is probable that you received a summons for “CDS in a MV” or controlled dangerous substance in a motor vehicle. Even if the drugs recovered were not found on your person but rather on someone in your vehicle, you may still be charged with the crime of CDS in a MV. Although the summons is not a criminal charge, it is a traffic ticket which upon conviction will result in a mandatory two year loss of license.  An experienced criminal defense attorney can make the process less stressful for you as he can work with the prosecutor to have your charges resolved for the best possible outcome. William A. Proetta, Esq. has handled thousands of criminal, municipal, and traffic charges including many cases for CDS in a MV.  Our office represents clients throughout New Jersey including Weehawken, Hoboken, Secaucus, North Bergen, Bayonne, Kearny, Jersey City, Bloomfield and Union City. For a free initial consultation with an experienced drug defense lawyer, contact our Jersey City office at (201) 793-8018.

NJ Statute 39:4-49.1 Drugs in a Motor Vehicle

A description of the New Jersey Statute for Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance in a motor vehicle is shown below for your reading convenience:

§ 39:4-49.1. Drug possession by motor vehicle operator

No person shall operate a motor vehicle on any highway while knowingly having in his possession or in the motor vehicle any controlled dangerous substance as classified in Schedules I, II, III, IV and V of the “New Jersey Controlled Dangerous Substances Act,” P.L. 1970, c. 226 or any prescription legend drug, unless the person has obtained the substance or drug from, or on a valid written prescription of, a duly licensed physician, veterinarian, dentist or other medical practitioner licensed to write prescriptions intended for the treatment or prevention of disease in man or animals or unless the person possesses a controlled dangerous substance pursuant to a lawful order of a practitioner or lawfully possesses a Schedule V substance.

A person who violates this section shall be fined not less than $ 50.00 and shall forthwith forfeit his right to operate a motor vehicle for a period of two years from the date of his conviction.

Police Found Drugs in my Car, Can they just Search my Vehicle? 

The police are not allowed to search your vehicle whenever they want to, but there is more flexibility in the circumstances under which they are allowed to conduct a search of your car, when compared with your home or your physical person. The 4th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protect us from unreasonable search and seizure. To make sure this right is protected, the police typically must have a search warrant issued by a neutral and detached judge in order to conduct a search in an area where you have a reasonable expectation of privacy. One exception to this rule is called the “automobile exception”. Due to the easily movable nature of an automobile, this exception serves to preserve evidence that could be quickly moved away, thereby obstructing justice.

Under the automobile exception, the police may conduct a search of your vehicle for evidence of a crime or contraband, if they have probable cause. Even with probable cause to search the vehicle, the police must have had reasonable suspicion to pull you over in the first place. If the police lacked reasonable suspicion to pull your vehicle over initially, the evidence they later seized from your car will be tainted and inadmissible in your case. This essentially means it cannot be used against you in court. 

Another way the police can seize evidence from your car without a search warrant is under the plain view doctrine, which allows them to seize evidence that is within their “plain view” when the officer is located in a place where they are legally entitled to be. So, if the police pull you over and see drug paraphernalia on your passenger’s seat, they can seize it and search the remainder of your car for additional contraband. If you are pulled over and then placed under arrest, the police may search the area within your immediate arm’s length. This is known as a search incident to arrest. If you have been charged with CDS in a motor vehicle, you should consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can investigate the circumstances to determine if the search was valid or if your rights were violated. 

2 Year License Suspension – CDS in MV

Under the NJ Motor Vehicle Statute for 39:4-49.1, Possession of a controlled dangerous substance in a motor vehicle is a ticket that is directly linked to the driver of a motor vehicle when there are drugs recovered within that vehicle. Along with the repurcussions for any other criminal charges that may be associated with your case, you will be looking at a mandatory two year loss of license if ticketed for CDS in a Motor Vehicle. Proetta & Oliver are committed to defending the rights of clients with municipal and criminal charges throughout New Jersey. If you would like to consult with a criminal defense attorney regarding the details of your case, please contact our Jersey City office at (201) 793-8018 for a free initial consultation.