Learn About New Jersey Search and Seizure Laws
New Jersey Search and Seizure laws invoke every individual's fundamental constitutional right to privacy.
Under the constitution we all as individuals enjoy a reasonable expectation of privacy.
Thus, any search and seizure performed by the police must also be reasonable because if found unreasonable it will be excluded from evidence against an individual in court.
The most effective way of meeting the standard of reasonableness and thus making a search and seizure constitutional is to secure a warrant.
Do Police need a warrant to search my vehicle?
Yes, unless an exception to the warrant requirement exists plus probable cause that a particular vehicle contains contraband.
An example of an exception to the warrant requirement is called the automobile exception.
An automobile is an exception to the warrant requirement because drivers have a diminished expectation of privacy on public roads.
Pursuant to New Jersey Search and Seizure laws, although the automobile is an exception to the warrant requirement, the police still must have probable cause to believe that a particular vehicle contains contraband.
What gives rise to probable cause that a particular vehicle contains contraband?
a. Plain View - if the contraband is in plain view of the officer;
b. Plain Smell - if the smell of contraband emanates from the vehicle;
c. Inventory/Community Care taking - When the police need to conduct an inventory of a car's contents a search warrant is unnecessary;
d. Consent - If a police officer does not have probable cause he can still request to search and if consent is provided then a warrant becomes unnecessary.
However, consent must always be voluntary, free from threats, duress and coercion.
What is a Warrant?
A Warrant constitutionally permits the police to conduct a search and seizure of an individual or his or her property.
A warrant must be executed within 10 days of issuance and is normally executed in daytime unless specifically permitted otherwise by the issuing Judge and a receipt must be provided for the items seized.
Pursuant to New Jersey Search and Seizure laws how do police secure warrants?
They present facts to an impartial magistrate - Judge - generally by way of an affidavit stating the facts that generate probable cause - justify a prudent and cautious person to believe that a crime has or is about to be committed - that a crime was committed or will be committed, being specific as to what is to be searched and seized.
They do not have to have evidence of beyond reasonable doubt but it should be more than just mere reasonable suspicion.
What is an Affidavit?
A signed and notarized statement.
Do the police need a warrant to arrest me?
No, because an Arrest may be based on a warrant or without a warrant but either way it must be done under probable cause which is defined as well grounded suspicion on the part of the arresting officer that a crime has been committed.
So long as the arresting officer reasonably believes that he or she have well grounded suspicion - probable cause - that a crime has been committed, you may be subject to an arrest without a warrant.
Pursuant to New Jersey Search and Seizure laws the lower standard of reasonable suspicion - as opposed to well grounded suspicion which is probable cause - does not give rise to police authority to arrest an individual but it does give authority to police to detain an individual for a reasonable period of time such as in the case of a motor vehicle stop.
Pursuant to New Jersey Search and Seizure laws police may not enter an individual's home unless they have an arrest warrant except when exigent - emergency - circumstances are present such as the police in hot pursuit of a suspect.
Cllick here if you have any other questions about New Jersey Search and Seizure Law.