Motion to Suppress Granted in Union County Municipal Court.

A motion to suppress is an effort to remove from consideration by the finder of fact (either the judge or jury depending on the case)  physical evidence or statements made during custodial interrogation.  You have constitutional right (4th and 14th Amendment) that protects illegal searches of your person or property and also a 5th Amendment right against self incrimination.

When a criminal attorney argues that either statements or evidence should be excluded from the case, he or she is telling the court that the evidence was obtained illegally. Every one of these cases is fact sensitive and no two are exactly alike.

My most recent motion was made in a Union County Municipal Court. I was seeking to have evidence obtained during the course of a motor vehicle search excluded. Your reasonable expectation of privacy in a car is much lower than it would be in your home (that’s what the courts ay anyway). Thus, it’s easier for the police to search without a warrant. However, in New Jersey particularly, we are afforded a higher degree of protection that even the US Supreme Court has afforded suspects in cases involving cars.

In this case, the police pulled over a car late at night after the police claimed to see several motor vehicle infractions. When the police pulled the car over and approached the driver, they claimed to smell the strong odor of marijuana. There were three young men in the car. There were three officers present. The police searched the three men and found nothing. All suspects were cooperative. None of them admitted to having marijuana and nobody consented to a search. They answered questions during the initial investigatory detention and made no furtive movements. They did not appear to be nervous or under the influence of any drugs. They were not in a high drug crime area. The police, without obtaining a warrant, went into the car, searched the entire car, including the trunk, and found a small bag of weed and a pipe.

Although the police may have had probable cause to search the car, the issue was whether they needed to obtain a warrant to do so.  There are many exceptions to the warrant requirement, especially when cars are involved. But New Jersey has analyzed these questions by posing the question “ there was an exigency?”

Exigent circumstances are facts that raise the probability that evidence could be destroyed or police could be put in danger if the police took the time to get a warrant. In this case, although the Judge found that there was probable cause for the search, he did not agree with the police that there was a sufficient exigency warranting a no-warrant search. The police were fairly straight forward about the case and it was really just an issue for the judge to decide. He decided in a favor and all the evidence was suppressed, which means that the State could not use the marijuana or pipe in its case in chief. Therefore the case was effectively over and the State moved for dismissal of the charges.

A motion to suppress is an effort to remove from consideration by the finder of fact (either the judge or jury depending on the case)  physical evidence or statements made during custodial interrogation.  You have constitutional right (4th and 14th Amendment) that protects illegal searches of your person or property and also a 5th Amendment right against self incrimination.

When a criminal attorney argues that either statements or evidence should be excluded from the case, he or she is telling the court that the evidence was obtained illegally. Every one of these cases is fact sensitive and no two are exactly alike.

My most recent motion was made in a Union County Municipal Court. I was seeking to have evidence obtained during the course of a motor vehicle search excluded. Your reasonable expectation of privacy in a car is much lower than it would be in your home (that’s what the courts ay anyway). Thus, it’s easier for the police to search without a warrant. However, in New Jersey particularly, we are afforded a higher degree of protection that even the US Supreme Court has afforded suspects in cases involving cars.

In this case, the police pulled over a car late at night after the police claimed to see several motor vehicle infractions. When the police pulled the car over and approached the driver, they claimed to smell the strong odor of marijuana. There were three young men in the car. There were three officers present. The police searched the three men and found nothing. All suspects were cooperative. None of them admitted to having marijuana and nobody consented to a search. They answered questions during the initial investigatory detention and made no furtive movements. They did not appear to be nervous or under the influence of any drugs. They were not in a high drug crime area. The police, without obtaining a warrant, went into the car, searched the entire car, including the trunk, and found a small bag of weed and a pipe.

Although the police may have had probable cause to search the car, the issue was whether they needed to obtain a warrant to do so.  There are many exceptions to the warrant requirement, especially when cars are involved. But New Jersey has analyzed these questions by posing the question “ there was an exigency?”

Exigent circumstances are facts that raise the probability that evidence could be destroyed or police could be put in danger if the police took the time to get a warrant. In this case, although the Judge found that there was probable cause for the search, he did not agree with the police that there was a sufficient exigency warranting a no-warrant search. The police were fairly straight forward about the case and it was really just an issue for the judge to decide. He decided in a favor and all the evidence was suppressed, which means that the State could not use the marijuana or pipe in its case in chief. Therefore the case was effectively over and the State moved for dismissal of the charges.

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