- January 23, 2011
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Warrantless seizures and searches are presumptively invalid as contrary to the United States and the New Jersey Constitutions.” State v. Pineiro, 181 N.J. 13, 19, 853 A.2d 887 (2004). Failure to obtain a warrant or meet the burden of proof of one of the exceptions to the requirement of a warrant is reason to bring a Motion to Suppress illegally seized evidence in order to obtain a not guilty result for a criminal defendant.
When no warrant is sought, the State has the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that the warrantless search falls within one of the few well-delineated exceptions to the warrant requirement. Schneckloth v. Bustamonte, 412 U.S. 218, 219, 93 S.Ct. 2041, 2043, 36 L.Ed.2d 854, 858 (1973)
In many warrantless search and seizure matters “probable cause” is the stated reason for the failure to obtain a warrant. Brinegar v. United States, 338 U.S. 160, 69 S.Ct. 1302, 93 L.Ed. 1879 (1949), defined probable cause as existing “where ‘the facts and circumstances within … [the officers’] knowledge and of which they had reasonably trustworthy information [are] sufficient in themselves to warrant a man of reasonable caution in the belief that’ an offense has been or is being committed.” Of course this definition leaves much to the discretion of the officers and has served as both the reason for success and failure of multitudes of suppression motions.
In obtaining a warrant the police must set forth a sound basis for undertaking a search and seizure prior to said undertaking, without the benefit of any further knowledge or evidence obtained during the search itself. By undertaking a warrantless search and seizure the police are able to avoid some of the investigation otherwise required in building their case against the the accused by merely using the evidence obtained in the warrantless search to later obtain facts unknown at the time of the search which they may then be used to secure a conviction against a criminal defendant.
At all times an individual has a right to certain expectations of privacy in his or her belongings and person. What constitutes a violation of the Fourth Amendment rights of the person against unreasonable search and seizure is a regular and hotly contended matter within the Courts and anyone believing their Fourth Amendment rights to be free from unreasonable search and seizure should consult defense counsel to insure those rights are properly protected by suppression of any evidence seized in violation thereof.
For more information or representation in the event of a violation of Fourth Amendment rights visit HeatherDarlingLawyer.com.