Consent to Search Must be Knowing and Voluntary
- July 22, 2012
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In New Jersey, consent to search is a long-established exception to the requirement that police obtain a search warrant prior to entering a residence with the purpose of searching for contraband or evidence of a crime. A critical component of consent is knowledge of the right to refuse consent. Three other critical component required to render a consent search valid are 1) defendant’s right to be present during the search; 2) notification to defendant by police of defendant’s right to limit the scope of the search and; 3) defendant’s notification by police of his right to withdraw consent at any time during the search. If you volunteer information about contraband or evidence of a crime without them asking you waive your rights to the constitutional protections afforded to you and eliminate the requirement that police obtain a warrant. If police suggest to you that they will be seeking a search warrant, they are essentially seeking your consent to search without advising your of your rights to refuse, be present or stop the search at any time. Additionally, if they ask how to enter into a structure or object they are seeking consent to enter place or look inside the item without advising you of your rights. Finally, if you are secured in an area where you may not see the search in order to insure it is limited to the areas you consented to, or you are not in proximity to advise them to stop the search, your rights are being violated. Any search which violates your rights is illegal under the constitution and evidence obtained from such a search is subject to suppression. In the event you are charged with a crime in which you believe an illegal search occurred you should seek an experienced criminal law attorney immediately to insure your rights are protected. For more information on search and seizure or other criminal law matters in NJ visit HeatherDarlingLawyer.com.