Reasonable Suspicion of a Violation

In order for a traffic stop to be valid in New Jersey, there must be reasonable suspicion that a motor vehicle violation has been committed. There is significant case law in New Jersey concerning proper traffic stops leading to drinking and driving charges. First, under State v. Carpentieri, 82 N.J. 546 (1980), the New Jersey Supreme Court held that the police must have an articulable and Continue Reading...

Leaving the Scene of an Accident Charges

A leaving the scene of an accident charge in New Jersey is a violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-129. The charge can involve fines, license suspension, and even jail, depending on whether or not there was an injury involved and/or the extent of any property damage involved in the accident. If you are convicted of leaving the scene of an accident it involves mandatory license suspension (ranging from six Continue Reading...

Justification for motor vehicle stops

It is well settled that the stopping of a motor vehicle and the detention of its occupants constitutes a seizure within the meaning of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the US Constitution, even though the purpose of the stop is limited and the detention is brief. The United States Supreme Court in Delaware v. Prouse, 440 U.S. 648 (1979), held that the police must have at least an Continue Reading...

The Automobile Exception to the Warrant Requirement

There are several exceptions to the requirement that the police obtain a warrant to search an area such as a house or a vehicle. One of these exceptions that I have previously discussed is the plain view doctrine. Another exception to the requirement that the police obtain a warrant is the automobile exception. Article 1, paragraph 7 of the New Jersey Constitution has often been interpreted by the Continue Reading...

The “Plain Smell” doctrine as an exception to the warrant requirement

The discovery of evidence during a lawfully executed traffic stop or warrantless search under the plain view exception to the warrant requirement is not necessarily limited to what the police officer sees. New Jersey has also adopted the "plain smell" doctrine. In the typical plain smell case, the officer will effect a motor vehicle stop and detect some odor that will provide him or her with Continue Reading...