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New Jersey PD Faces Claim after Futile Search for Drugs Leaves Car Wrecked

January 16, 2012 | Posted In Criminal Law - Drugs, Motor Vehicle Accidents

The Pompton Lakes Police Department is currently facing a claim of false arrest and malicious prosecution by a motorist whose car was destroyed during a drug search. More claims from the insurance company that paid out the damages could also be in the pipeline.

According to police reports, on September 23, Darren Richardson was stopped by police after he was almost involved in an accident. Richardson had a criminal record and had served two years in prison on drug charges. According to the police, they smelled marijuana in his car. Richardson and his passenger were handcuffed, and the police conducted a search for narcotics at the scene.

Police then impounded the car and conducted another search of the car at the impound lot four days later. However, neither search yielded any trace of drugs. Police even brought in a trap expert to check if marijuana had been concealed in secret compartments in the car, but that search turned up nothing as well.

By the end of the searches, Richardson's car had been completely destroyed and police had no traces of marijuana to show for their efforts. The seats had been ripped out and the dashboard was gone. The gearshift was destroyed. According to the insurer, the total damages amounted to more than $12,000.

Richardson has already filed a notice of claim against the Police Department, seeking damages for malicious prosecution and false arrest. The insurer is also likely to file a claim to recover the cost of the vehicle repairs that was paid out to Richardson.

Richardson and his passenger had initially been charged with resisting arrest and evidence tampering, but those charges have now been reduced to disorderly persons offenses.

The New Jersey criminal defense lawyers at Helmer Paul Conley and Kasselman represent persons who have been charged with DUI, murder, fraud, assault, drug crimes, sex crimes and other crimes across New Jersey.

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