Fleeing the Police Does Not Always Give Probable Cause to Arrest in NJ
- January 29, 2013
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The police must have probable cause to stop and search without a warrant. A man exited a residence which was under surveillance by Newark police detectives investigating a shooting. Detectives watched the man stand on the porch until another man, the co-defendant, approached. The defendant stepped off the porch to speak with the co-defendant and co-defendant showed him what appeared to be a gun. Defendant looked at the object but never held or possessed the object. When the detectives approached, the defendant ran back onto the residence with a detective in pursuit. The detective tackled defendant into the residence as he was entering the door and saw weapons in plain view. The detective observed a shotgun, 3 long rifles and a stock of ammunition. Defendant was charged with illegal possession of the weapons and made a motion to suppress the guns at trial. In a case relating to probable cause to stop and search without a warrant, the NJ appellate court reaffirmed the prior decision, in Illinois v. Wardlow, setting forth the premise that flight alone cannot be used to justify stopping those who flee the police. The Court must look at the overall circumstances to determine whether the police could have had reasonable suspicion that the defendant was involved in criminal activity. 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 are facing criminal charges as a result of a wrongful arrest or illegally obtained evidence and believe you may be entitled to suppression of the confession, you should consult an experienced criminal law attorney immediately in order to protect your rights. For more information on probable cause, reasonable suspicion or other criminal law or municipal court issues in New Jersey visit HeatherDarlingLawyer.com.