The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects people from unreasonable searches and seizures. It requires that warrants must be based on probable cause and describe with particular specificity “the particular place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” New Jersey has a similar provision in its constitution. Article 1, paragraph 7 of the New Jersey Constitution states
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated; and no warrant shall issue except upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the papers and things to be seized.”
This provision in the New Jersey Constitution uses essentially the same language as the Fourth Amendment however; this New Jersey provision arguably affords even greater protection. If the searched party believes that the search conducted was unlawful under New Jersey Rule 3:5-7, a motion to suppress the evidence taken from that search can be made. The presumption is generally that warrantless searches are unreasonable, however there are exceptions. When looking at a specific search and seizure the main factor in determining its validity is reasonableness. If the search was conducted without a warrant the prosecutor will usually have to show that more likely than not one of the exceptions to the warrant requirement applies in the case. Exceptions to the warrant requirement include, but are not limited to:
- Consent of the party being searched
- Plain view of the evidence
- Search of the area outside of the land immediately surrounding the owner’s property
- Exigent circumstances
- Motor vehicles
- Search incident to arrest
There are other exceptions to the warrant requirement and the exceptions listed above have specific requirements of their own so it is important to consult with an attorney if you believe that you were searched unlawfully.
If you require the assistance of a criminal attorney, please call The Morano Law Firm, LLC at 201-598-5019 today for a free consultation or email us at [email protected].