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Drug charges brought against 3 persons in store parking lot

The police in New Hampshire must be careful in the procedures they use whenever they attempt to search individuals in a public place and to search inside their vehicles. If there is probable cause to make a full search of a vehicle, that is one way to justify it. Another major way that the authorities obtain the right to make a search of person or property is by getting consent from the suspect. Many drug charges occur through the consent authority given by the suspect. 

It is sometimes difficult to understand why a suspect would give the police permission to search a vehicle or a home that contains illegal contraband. The power of police persuasion in such incidents, and the desire of the suspect to appear innocent, often leads to the granting of consent. In some instances, such consent is not clearly given or is the result of misrepresentations by the police, and it may be challenged.

This may come up in a recent arrest of three individuals for possession of drugs and transporting a rifle or shotgun. Police found the suspects in the parking lot of a local store. The one suspect was allegedly trying to sell firearms out of the trunk of his car. Police say that the owner of the car gave consent for them to search the car. They allegedly found illegal drugs inside the vehicle and on each of the three persons arrested, including the owner of the car and the man who was supposedly trying to sell firearms.

It remains to be seen whether the guns were properly owned and licensed, or otherwise authorized for public sale under New Hampshire law. The consent to search may be conceded by the owner or he may have another version of the story that could abrogate the consent and the drug charges. In addition, even if consent was given, it may be arguably invalid if there was no justifiable reason or evidence of criminality allowing the police to ask for consent in the first place. Defense counsel must investigate such issues and assert them vigorously if they are credible and relevant to the outcome of the case.

Source: nh1.com, "Police arrest NH residents after finding drugs, guns in car", May 24, 2017

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