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Warrantless Search Without Danger Exceeds Community Caretaking Role of Police in NJ

Warrantless Search Without Danger Exceeds Community Caretaking Role of Police in NJ

Following receipt of an anonymous call about domestic violence, the police appeared at a New Jersey residence to determine whether there was danger to anyone. Upon arrival, police were met at the entrance to the apartments by the alleged victim. The alleged victim advised the police there were no problems at the residence and she was not in danger. The police found the circumstances to be curious, especially the fact that the alleged victim was at the door waiting for them, rather than inside with the other occupants. In order to determine whether the alleged victim was truly safe, the police insisted upon gaining entry into the apartment and were admitted into defendant’s apartment by the parties’ 11 year old child. Upon entry into the apartment, the police saw no signs of danger or unrest and no weapons were observed in plain view. At that time, rather than accepting that there was no actual danger present, the police violated defendant’s rights by undertaking a warrantless search of the premises. The illegal search revealed a handgun under a pillow near the defendant and he was charged with a weapons offense. Only in the case of an emergency requiring immediate action by the police is a warrantless search permissible. The New Jersey Supreme Court held that this was an illegal search in violation of defendant’s rights to enjoy the protections of the constitution relating to a person’s home as offering a reasonable expectation of privacy from intrusion. This blog is for informational purposes only and in no way intended to replace the advice of an attorney regarding your specific matter. If you face criminal charges and believe that evidence against you was illegally obtained by police, you should consult an experienced criminal law attorney immediately in order to protect your rights. For more information on search and seizure, illegal search, warrantless search, domestic violence, anonymous tips or other criminal law matters, including municipal court matters, in New Jersey visit HeatherDarlingLawyer.com.

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