Orders to Exit Vehicles: Drivers

There is a distinction in New Jersey between orders by a law enforcement officer for operators and passengers of a vehicle to exit the vehicle during a motor vehicle stop. With respect to operators of a motor vehicle, New Jersey follows the federal position that police are free to use their discretion to order a driver from the vehicle during the course of a motor vehicle stop. This comes from the Continue Reading...

Orders to Exit Vehicles: Passengers (Part 2)

Central to the court's analysis in State v. Smith, 134 N.J. 599 (1994), was the fact that normally a passenger will not have committed any motor vehicle violation. Of course, this may not always be the case. There are numerous violations that passengers can commit. For example, failure to wear a seatbelt while seated in the front of a motor vehicle constitutes a violation of New Jersey law. In a Continue Reading...

Consent Searches under New Jersey law

New Jersey law differs significantly from federal law on the issue of motor vehicle searches undertaken by consent of the driver. Article 1, paragraph 7 of the New Jersey Constitution provides more protection to individuals than the comparable provisions of the 4th amendment to the US Constitution. In Schneckloth v. Bustamonte, the US Supreme Court ruled that when a subject of a search is not in Continue Reading...

Motion to Suppress Evidence: Consent Search

The State is required to prove two elements during a hearing on a motion to suppress evidence, where the issue is one of consent. First, the State must prove by clear and convincing testimony that consent was freely, knowingly, and voluntarily given. This evidence should include proof that the defendant knew that he or she had the right to refuse to grant consent for the search. This can be shown Continue Reading...