On November 4, 2018, Camden County Jail Corrections Officer Christopher Bowie was arrested for attempting to smuggle drugs into his place of employment. According to various news reports, authorities conducted a search of Bowie’s person and vehicle at the start of his Sunday shift, whereupon authorities found him to possess what is suspected to be Oxycodone pills, Xanax pills, and Suboxone strips. As a result of finding these suspected substances in Bowie’s possession, the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office has filed criminal charges against him and he has been suspended from his duties at the jail pending investigation. These criminal charges include drug possession, official misconduct, and manufacturing, distributing, or dispensing a controlled dangerous substance.
Prosecutor’s Theory Of The Case
Currently, Bowie’s criminal prosecution is being handled by the Special Prosecutions Unit of the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office. While the charges are relatively new, the Prosecutor’s Office recently made a statement alleging that Bowie was in possession of the alleged drugs and his intent was to distribute the drugs throughout the facility.
Possible Defenses To The Crimes Charged
Although Bowie’s case is still in the early stages of prosecution and he and his defense counsel (it is still unclear as to whether Bowie has retained counsel to represent him in this matter) have various defense strategies at their disposal. Depending on where the searches occurred, and whether or not he was working at the time, one possible defense strategy available to him may be to challenge the search and seizure of the alleged drugs. According to the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution and Article I, Section 7 of the New Jersey State Constitution, people have the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. Thus, if Bowie can prove that the search of his person and his vehicle was unreasonable, then he will most likely be successful in having the evidence of the alleged drugs found in the search suppressed. Suppression of this evidence would mean that the prosecution would not be able to present the evidence of the drugs to a jury at trial. To prove that the search and, consequently, the seizure of the items obtained in the search were unreasonable, Bowie would have to establish that authorities conducted the search without a valid search warrant and none of the various warrantless search exceptions apply to this case. However, depending on the facts of the case, Bowie may not be able to that the search conducted of his person and vehicle were unreasonable. If this is the case, then Bowie has alternative options available to defend himself against the alleged criminal charges.
For instance, another possible defense Bowie may have in this case would be to establish that he has a valid prescription for the alleged drugs found in his possession. If he can establish this, Bowie may be successful in refuting the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office allegation that Bowie’s intent in possessing the drugs was to distribute them throughout the jail. However, the viability of this defense may depend on the quantity of drugs found on his person and in his vehicle during the search. If the quantity of drugs was too high, then the prosecutor may be able to successfully argue that the large quantity of drugs found is circumstantial evidence of Bowie’s intent to distribute the drugs to others in the jail.
While these are only two possible defense strategies Bowie may have to defend himself in this case, more possible strategies can and will be developed as more facts are learned of the circumstances surrounding this case.
Contact an Experienced Hackensack Drug Defense Attorney About Your Drug Crime Charges in New Jersey
Have you been charged with a drug related offense in New Jersey? A drug crime conviction can carry with it heavy fines, jail time, and driver’s license suspension. That is why it is imperative that you speak with a qualified criminal defense lawyer about your case. The lawyers at Lustberg Law Offices, LLC represent clients charged with use, possession, production, distribution, and related drug offenses in Hackensack, Teaneck, Fort Lee, Fair Lawn, Garfield, Englewood, Bergenfield, Paramus, Mahwah, Ridgewood and throughout NJ. Call 201-439-8391 or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office located at One University Plaza Dr., Suite 210 Hackensack, NJ 07601 in addition to offices located in New York.
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