New Jersey police in Hackettstown recently responded to a phone call regarding the possibility of drug activity in Victoria Village. Police pulled a car over on March 25 about 5 p.m. The 17-year-old driver and a 16-year-old passenger both now face drug charges of marijuana possession as a result of the incident. Authorities claim they smelled burnt marijuana coming from the car and that the two teens supposedly acknowledged smoking prior to being pulled over.
The 17-year-old Hackettstown resident apparently submitted to a field sobriety test, which police say he failed, though no details were revealed. They also claim the young driver then gave the police permission to search his vehicle, where the police reportedly found a pipe and jar containing an undisclosed amount of what was believed to be marijuana. The teenager has been charged with several drug charges including driving while under the influence in a school zone, possession of a dangerous controlled substance in a vehicle, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of under 50 grams of marijuana and additional related charges. The 16-year-old passenger was charged with the same drug charges minus the driving charges. Pending a court appearance, both teens were reportedly released to their parents.
In a situation like this, it is helpful that any individual involved understands his or her rights, including the presumption of innocence and the right to a fair trial. Further, field sobriety tests are known not to be completely accurate 100 percent of the time, and the two teens may not have actually admitted their guilt in the manner described. In addition, the police could have searched the vehicle without permission and other legal issues may arise that call into question the marijuana possession charges filed.
Both teens have a right to a fair trial so that they can tell their side of the story as they search for an equitable resolution and likely learn a few life lessons along the way.
Source: The Warren Reporter, "Hackettstown police arrest two local teenagers on drug charges," March 23, 2012