Drugs found in Police stop and search
Max* was parked outside The Star casino at 3am when police officers pulled up near his car.
The police officers conducted a stop and search of Max under powers that they believed they held.
After running Max’s licence details through a police search, the officers found that Max had several previous drug-related convictions. Following this, police conducted a search of Max’s vehicle and found a small amount of illegal substance. He was then arrested and charged with possession of a prohibited drug, an offence under section 10 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 (NSW).
When can police search my car without a warrant?
We represented Max and argued that the police had acted outside of their authority when they stopped and searched Max.
The power to stop and check a vehicle under the Road Transport Act 2013 can only have use “for the purpose of or in connection with exercising other powers under the road transport legislation”.
WHAT: Under s36 LEPRA, police may do the following without a warrant or if there is a roadblock: stop, search and detain a vehicle
WHEN: When they suspect on reasonable grounds that the vehicle contains, or a person in the vehicle has drugs, weapons, something that’s stolen or something used in a crime.
However, in this case, there was no relevant purpose for stopping Max outside The Star.
Our lawyers argued the following:
- That parking outside of The Star does not amount to reasonable grounds for a search.
- Officers cannot reasonably form a suspicion on the basis of prior convictions.
Outcome: Unlawful search result in dismissal of charges
Our lawyers were successful, and both the stop and the search of Max were found to be outside of police powers.
Given that the evidence against Max was obtained unlawfully (and was therefore inadmissible), the charges against Max were dismissed.