When facing serious criminal charges, the nature of a person's arrest might feel inconsequential. However, for those who are hoping to have their charges thrown out, what transpired before and during the arrest is actually extremely important. In North Dakota, drug crimes charges from five different instances were all recently thrown out of court.
In one instance, a 38-year-old male driver was reportedly pulled over because the attending officer thought he looked suspicious. However, before initiating the traffic stop, the officer had apparently pulled alongside the man's vehicle and stared at him. He then followed him for the next 10 miles. The driver eventually stopped at a rest stop and used the bathroom, only to find the officer waiting for him when he was done.
The driver was ticketed for failing to update his driver's license after moving. The officer then asked to search the driver's car, claiming that he appeared nervous. The driver said no, but the police officer still used a drug-sniffing dog, who alerted him to the presence of marijuana in the trunk. However, this was ultimately deemed an illegal search and seizure because the officer had no valid reason for following or stopping the driver. All of his charges were thrown out.
Police officers in North Dakota cannot act initiate traffic stops simply because they think a driver looks nervous. Citizens have a wide range of rights and protections under the law, and this includes protection from illegal search and seizures by law enforcement officials. Those who are facing drug crimes and suspect that the circumstances of their arrest were not valid can assert such claims in court.