If you’ve been arrested and charged with a crime in New Jersey, it’s very possible that you will have to stand trial in a local municipal court or in a county superior court. A conviction on your criminal charges could have severe consequences that include a lengthy prison sentence. That’s why the first thing you should do when you are arrested is inform the arresting officer that you want to speak with your attorney. Do not make any admissions to the police and do not consent to any searches of your property.
An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you beat your criminal charges and stay out of jail. One crucial element of your case will be the evidence that the State has against you. Depending on the strength of the evidence in your case, it may be harder for your lawyer to fight the charges. This is another reason why it is imperative that you do not consent to any police searches of your property, either before you are arrested or after you are arrested. Although the police may be able to search your clothing after they have placed you under arrest, they will most likely need to get a search warrant before searching your property.
Warrantless Searches in New Jersey
In some cases, NJ law enforcement can conduct a warrantless search. The most common scenario for police being able to get around the search warrant requirement and search a suspect’s property is when there are “exigent circumstances,” which means that there is a risk of the evidence disappearing or a risk of someone’s health being put in jeopardy if the search is not conducted immediately.
So what types of property are subject to police searches, either with or without a warrant, in New Jersey? NJ police officers may want to search a person’s motor vehicle during a traffic stop, especially if the traffic officer smells the odor of marijuana coming from the car or sees an illegal item in plain view inside the vehicle.
Additionally, a person’s home or premises may be subject to search by law enforcement in certain circumstances. While conducting the search of your premises, police will likely be looking for evidence of a crime, illegal weapons such as handguns or knives, and illegal drugs such as marijuana, heroin, cocaine, and drug paraphernalia.
If you have been charged with a crime in NJ on the basis of evidence seized by law enforcement, an aggressive criminal defense attorney may be able to challenge the legality of the police search. Contact the criminal defense team at Rudnick, Addonizio, Pappa & Casazza PC now to schedule a free consultation about your case.