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Drugs Stops and Racial Profiling

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"Racial profiling" is used in many areas of law, when it is used in drug offenses, it is an illegal pretext and results in the suppression of evidence among other things

By Attorney Elisabeth K.H. Pasqualini, Drug Defense Lawyer, Harrisburg, PA

"Racial profiling" has become a pervasive practice in recent times, beginning with the War on Drugs and gaining new followers in the War on Terror.  To date, the term "racial profiling" has been used to encompass a wide array of topics, such as jury selection, enrollment at institutions of higher learning, disparities in the quality of public education, and searches conducted on passengers at airport terminals. 

Racial profiling in traffic stops has resulted in "the proportion of African-Americans among the drivers searched by police far exceed[ing] the proportion in the general population of drivers."   So much so, that the popular nomenclature "driving while black" is a common phrase.  In April of 2005, the Bureau of Justice Statistics released results from a survey of 80,000 people which indicated that minority drivers were three times more likely to have their vehicles searched following traffic stops than white drivers.  Two highway studies conducted by Temple University in racial profiling showed that along a segment on the New Jersey Turnpike both Causians and African Americans violated traffic laws at an equal rate.  However, African Americans made up to 36 percent of those stopped and 73 percent of those arrested.

When racial profiling is used to stop or arrest an individual, it is an illegal pretext and any evidence seized as a result of the stop or statements made should be suppressed.  If you are an in-state or out-of-state driver and have been arrested for a drug charge that occurred along a major highway or interstate and believe you were targeted due to your race or ethnicity, call an experienced drug offense lawyer at Shaffer & Engle Law Offices, LLC toll free or email us today.

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