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Search of vehicle after crash in New Jersey leads to drug arrest

Many people are unaware of their Fourth Amendment rights. They believe that if they don’t allow law enforcement officials to search their vehicle after being involved in a car accident that they might face additional charges. Police officers are required to follow specific guidelines before searching a vehicle. If they do not have probable cause to warrant implied consent, they must get express consent from the driver of the vehicle. The driver may also be able limit the scope of the search depending on the circumstances.

A New Jersey man who may have only received a citation for careless driving now faces more serious drug charges. The man gave express consent for police to search his vehicle during the course of the accident investigation, which involved four different vehicles. It is unknown if officers suspected the man had illegal substances in his vehicle or if it was simply a routine investigation. Upon searching the vehicle, however, drugs and drug paraphernalia were found and the man was arrested.

The laws surrounding automobile search and seizure are complex. If you feel that your constitutional rights were violated by a search of your automobile after an accident or traffic stop, you may want to talk to a criminal defense attorney—even if you consented to the search. An experienced attorney can analyze the situation and determine how both written and common laws apply to your unique situation. If it is believed that search was unlawful, an attorney can help you challenge the validity in court and possibly get the additional charges dropped.

Source:, “Man who caused four-car crash on Route 206 had methamphetamine and marijuana, cops say,” Justin Zaremba, May 22, 2013.