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Man and woman accused of possessing heroin

Authorities in New Jersey have recently taken a 29-year-old woman and a 27-year-old man into custody on suspicion of drug possession. The evidence against them was allegedly uncovered during the course of a traffic stop in Hackettstown on June 20. A search of their vehicle allegedly revealed what police believe to beheroin.

Court records indicate that the woman has a prior conviction for marijuana distribution in 2008. She was sentenced to serve 30 days in jail and 18 months of probation in relation to that incident.

Both individuals in this case were expected to appear in Superior Court in Belvidere on June 23. Police officers reportedly found 59 bags of suspected heroin in their vehicle, but the report does not specify under what circumstances their car was subjected to a search.

Although automobiles are afforded less constitutional protection than other forms of personal property like residences, there are still certain procedural guidelines that must be followed in order for a vehicular search to be permissible. A defense attorney may wish to review the reason for the initial traffic stop and why it was transformed into an apparent drug investigation. Police do not always require a warrant before searching a vehicle, but in the absence of consent, they must still be able to articulate the probable cause used to justify their action.

Furthermore, field testing of suspected narcotics is not usually regarded to be as reliable as laboratory testing, the results of which can take weeks or even months to obtain. If prosecutors in a case such as this are unable to amass reliable evidence against a defendant, they may be willing to reduce their charges.

Source: Le High Valley Live, "Two charged after police find 59 bags of heroin during traffic stop, court records say", Matthew Bultman, June 23, 2014