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Marijuana Arrests After Car Stops

Cases of Marijuana arrests, leading to significant criminal charges after car stops on route 95, are extremely common. 

Given Rhode Island’s position in between New York City and Boston, route 95 has always been a major thoroughfare for the transportation of Marijuana, Cocaine and many other criminal activities. 

The Rhode Island State Police are keenly aware of this fact, and for decades have patrolled Rhode Island’s southern border looking for evidence of Marijuana distribution. 

It is not uncommon to find Rhode Island State Police cars sitting in the turn-around at exit 5 on 95, occupied by multiple Rhode Island State Police troopers who have been specifically trained to identify vehicles being used to transport Marijuana, Cocaine or stolen goods. 

Often, these Rhode Island State Police Troopers are bilingual and/or have a K-9 officer available with his trained dog to immediately respond to the location of the stop to search for Marijuana. 

Here are just 2 recent examples of a Marijuana arrest made by Rhode Island State troopers after a car stop:

State Police Seize Marijuana Arrest 2 in Traffic Stops

How Do They Justify the Car Stops:

 Almost all of the Rhode Island State Police car stops leading to Marijuana offense are for minor traffic infractions committed by operators with out-of-state license plates:

  • Speeding
  • Lane Roadway Violations
  • No Use of Turn Signal
  • No Seatbelt
  • Use of Cellphone

Once an out-of-state motorist is stopped by the Rhode Island State Police for one of these common offenses or another Rhode Island Traffic offense, the deeper investigation begins. 

It should also be noted the majority, if not all, of the out-of-state motorists stopped by the Rhode Island State Police deny having committed the traffic offense. 

The more likely scenario, they contest, is they were targeted by the Rhode Island State Police because of their nationality or skin tone.

 Some of the observations the Rhode Island State Police say they make when conducting a Marijuana investigation after a car stop:

  • Furtive or suspicious movements by the occupants of the vehicle.
  • An inability to answer the trooper’s questions.
  • Inconsistent answers given by the occupants of the vehicle.
  • Excessive sweating.
  • Prior history for Marijuana or other narcotics offenses.
  • “Target” glances at specific locations in the vehicle where the Marijuana or Cocaine is hidden.

 Additionally, it is not uncommon for the Rhode Island State Police to obtain a consent to search the vehicle from the owner of the vehicle. 

Although these “consents” should be in writing, and explained in a motorist’s native language, quite often neither is the case. 

This does allow the motorist’s Rhode Island Criminal Defense Lawyer to argue the validity of the consent to search. 

Potential Marijuana charges if stopped by the Rhode Island State Police:

 There are a number of different felony charges which can be brought by the Rhode Island State Police if they discover Marijuana in a vehicle which was stopped on route 95. 

The criminal charges which can be brought will depend on the amount of Marijuana that was seized, as well as the manner in which the Marijuana was packaged. 

All of these charges are felonies and carry anywhere between 10 years to serve in prison up to life in prison for a capital offense.  The possible charges include:

Possession of Marijuana for Personal Use

Possession of marijuana up to one ounce by an individual 18 years or older is a civil violation, punishable by a $150 fine, no jail time, and no criminal record.

Possession of 1 ounce to 1 kilogram is a misdemeanor that is punishable by a maximum of 1 year imprisonment and a maximum fine of $500.

Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Distribute

Possession of between 1-5 kilograms is a felony punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum of 50 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $500,000.

Possession of more than 5 kilograms is a felony punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment as well as a maximum fine of $100,000.

Sale or possession within 300 yards of a school may result in a doubling of the penalties.

Possession while driving will result in a driver’s license suspension for a period of 6 months.

Sale or Cultivation of Marijuana

Sale or cultivation of less than 1 kilogram is a felony punishable by a maximum sentence of 30 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $100,000.

Sale or cultivation of between 1-5 kilograms is punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years imprisonment and a maximum sentence of 50 years imprisonment as well as a maximum fine of $500,000.

Sale or cultivation of 5 kilograms or more is punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years imprisonment and a maximum of life imprisonment as well as a maximum fine of $500,000.

Delivery to a minor at least three years younger than the offender carries with it the additional penalty of between 2-5 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $10,000.

Sale or possession within 300 yards of a school, public park, or playground doubles the penalties.

Hash & Concentrates

Hashish and concentrates fall under the definition of marijuana.

Paraphernalia

The manufacture, sale, delivery, or possession with the intent to sell or deliver, of paraphernalia is punishable by a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars ($5,000) and up to two (2) years imprisonment.

Any person eighteen (18) years of age or over who delivers drug paraphernalia to a person under eighteen (18) years of age shall be subject to a fine not to exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000) and imprisonment not to exceed five (5) years.

Miscellaneous

Possession while driving will result in a driver’s license suspension for a period of 6 months.

If the offense involves the use of any automobile to transport the substance or the substance is found within an automobile, then a person convicted or who pleads nolo contendere shall be subjected to a loss of license for a period of six months for a first offense and one year for each offense after this.

Why Having a Lawyer Who Specializes in Marijuana Charges Can Help

If you’re dealing with a Marijuana charge it is important to consult with a lawyer who is an expert in Marijuana cases. 

A felony Marijuana conviction can have long-lasting a negative effects on a person.  These include finding employment, housing, and even travel to foreign countries. 

An experienced Rhode Island Criminal Defense Lawyer knows how to attack the work of the Rhode Island State Police. 

These cases can often be defended by attacking the reason for the stop or the reason for the search.  Don’t wait until it is too late. 

If you have been charged with a Marijuana charge in Rhode Island, contact top Marijuana Defense Lawyer S. Joshua Macktaz, Esq. today to learn more about your options.

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