My seventeen-year-old son was leaving a friends house (in NJ). He was driving his sister’s car. Less than one mile from his friend’s house he was pulled over for not having his headlights on. When asked for his license, registration and insurance he told the officer that it was his sister’s car and he'd have to call her to find out where the registration and insurance card were and that his license was in his car.
Of course the officer then asked my son to step out of the car and asked if he had anything on him or in the car that the officer needed to know about. My son’s response was "no sir.” The cop then asked if he could search the vehicle. My son said no because he was in a hurry and needed to be home by 10PM (the stop occurred around 9pm). There were five cops on the scene and they called for a K9 unit from a different township in a neighboring county.
The K9 arrived about an hour and a half after the traffic stop. The dog proceeded to severely scratch all four doors of my daughter’s car and then the car’s interior. The dog detected something in the center console. They found a very small roach inside the compartment and charged my son with driving without headlights, failure to produce documents, and possession of a controlled dangerous substance in a motor vehicle.
After picking up the car at the impound lot (which cost $163) I notice the damage to the car and went right to the police station to see what they were going to do to repair the car. The cop filed a report concerning the damages and said he'd see what he could do.
When I asked the cop why a K9 unit was called to the scene, their response was that the officers on the scene detected the smell of marijuana. I asked why they sought permission to search the car if in fact they had probable cause. The office then became angry with me and asked, "shouldn't you be more concerned that your son is smoking marijuana?" I explained that that conversation will be between me and my son and that my conversation with the police was intended to 1) make sure that my son's civil rights were not violated by being subject to unnecessary detention and an illegal search and 2) to inquire about the damages to my daughter's car.
Needless to say, we have retained an attorney (at a cost of $1500 dollars) and will vehemently fight the charges, however, it is comical to think that five cops and a K9 unit were wasting their time and tax payers’ money to make this giant bust of a seventeen year old for a old roach that he wasn't even aware of in his sister’s car.