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Do the police need a warrant to search me?

On Behalf of | Nov 27, 2023 | Criminal Defense |

Under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, law enforcement in New Jersey is prohibited from conducting an unlawful search and seizure. This generally means that officers need to have a warrant to search any place where a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy (e.g., your person or your residence).

However, there are situations where an officer does not need a warrant to conduct a search, so long as the officer has probable cause. Probable cause is the reasonable belief that the suspect was involved in a crime. The standard of probable cause is sometimes described as “more likely than not.” A gut feeling or a hunch does not rise to the level of probable cause.

Warrantless search may be lawful if you are under arrest

One exception to the warrant requirement is if the search is incident to the arrest, as long as the arrest is legal. Therefore, if the officer arrests the suspect lawfully, the officer is allowed to search the person and the area surrounding them for weapons, drugs, and/or other evidence of a crime. Any evidence that is discovered during this incidental search may lead to additional criminal charges.

If you were the victim of an unlawful search in New Jersey, you have the right to a criminal defense. You may be able to file a motion to have the evidence found during the search suppressed. If the prosecution cannot use this evidence, your charges may be reduced or dropped entirely. Your attorney can review the circumstances surrounding your arrest and determine whether your search was unlawful.

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