How do normal, everyday activities turn into criminal charges? There can be a very fine line between lawful activity and illegal activities. Police are generally required to establish probable cause before intervening into an individual’s activities.
The standard of probable cause is established under both federal and state laws and is thereby prevailing in New Jersey. If a police officer is unable to establish probable cause, the arrest may not be valid. Therefore, an arrest for drug charges could potentially be dismissed.
The term probable cause, which is used to define the requirements that a police officer must establish prior to a detainment, can potentially be established in many ways. In a recent arrest near New Jersey, the police used a witness’s testimony to become involved in the visibly normal activity that led to an individual who was arrested for a drug arrest.
The now arrested individual is a 32-year-old male. The individual was sitting in his vehicle. The exact activities of the man prior to the police involvement were not released. Although the exact activities were not released, the activities may have been “abnormal” enough to alert a passerby to potentially illegal activities. The passerby alerted a nearby police officer that the man in the car seemed to be intoxicated.
Based on the passerby’s information the nearby police officer approached the vehicle in which the man was sitting. When the police officer approached the vehicle, the officer noticed what looked like marijuana and paraphernalia in the vehicle. Based on the police officer’s visual discovery, he told the man he was under arrest. After this statement, the man tried to drive away from the police officer. The man and the police officer struggled and the man was ultimately arrested and faces criminal charges.
Source: The New Jersey Herald, “Pa. man faces drug, assault charges,” Sept. 15, 2012