An 18-year-old New Jersey high school student was detained on Feb. 13 after police allegedly found narcotic pills and under 50 grams of marijuana in her vehicle that was parked in the school's parking lot. Police and K-9 units spent about two hours on the unannounced drug sweep that also included a study hall and student lockers.
The local board of education had asked for the sweep at Ridge High School in Bernards Township. After contacting the prosecutor's office, the board went on to work with the local police department to put the search into action. Parents had received letters letting them know that the search would be happening, and according to police, the board intended the sweep to send a message of zero tolerance for drugs.
A number of other area schools have anti-drug initiatives including voluntary and mandatory drug testing as well as the opportunity for students to join anti-drug organizations. K-9 units are also commonly used in schools to detect drugs. According to police, a warrant was not necessary for the sweep, but police did obtain a warrant to search the student's vehicle once the dog indicated that drugs were inside.
Individuals who are charged with drug possession may wish to consult an attorney, as there may be a number of options available for a defense in a case like this one. For example, a defendant might agree to cooperate with the prosecution and provide information on who they obtained the drugs from. This might lead to some charges being reduced or dismissed or to a lighter sentence. There is also a possibility of a lighter sentence in a plea arrangement. An attorney might also dispute the validity of the search to get the charges dismissed.
Source: NJ.com, "Student arrested in K-9 drug sweet at N.J. high schol after dog finds pot and pills in a car", Alex Napoliello, Feb. 17, 2015