Fort Lee, NJ asked in Criminal Law, DUI / DWI, Traffic Tickets and Civil Rights for New Jersey

Q: Reasonable suspicion for search...

When pulled over for a brake light out and the officer checks my license, when he sees a 5 year old arrest for possession, is that enough for him to use as reasonable suspicion? I've been harassed each time they run my licence and straight up being told my past means I am under constant suspicion of possessing a CDS. THANK YOU!

3 Lawyer Answers

Joseph F. Morgano

  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Shrewsbury, NJ
  • Licensed in New Jersey

A: A faulty break light would be a reason for a valid stop. From that point on, if the officer detects the odor of drugs or alcohol; or there is contraband in plain sight; or your behavior is such that it appears that you may be under the influence; or other factors, the officer will investigate further. However, the 5 year old record alone should not lead the officer to investigate further, other than issuing a summons for the faulty break light. If the officer suspects that there may be CDS in the vehicle, there would probably be another reason other than the prior conviction.

Paul Stanko agrees with this answer

Mr. Kenneth Albert Vercammen Esq.

  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Edison, NJ
  • Licensed in New Jersey

A: see recent case State v. Al-Sharif Scriven (A-11-15; 075682)

The trial court and Appellate Division properly

concluded that the motor-vehicle stop violated the

Federal and State Constitutions. The language of the

high-beam statute, N.J.S.A. 39:3-60, is unambiguous;

drivers are required to dim their high beams only when

approaching an oncoming vehicle. Neither a car parked

on a perpendicular street nor an on-foot police

officer count as an oncoming vehicle. The judgment of

the Appellate Division upholding the trial court’s

suppression of the evidence is affirmed.

Paul Stanko

  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • South Bend, IN

A: Reasonable suspicion is not enough for a search, but if it blooms into probable cause, it can be.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.