Automobile Exception

Stado wilków
(A pack of wolves)

Alfred Wierusz-Kowalski (1849 - 1915)
[Public domain],
via Wikimedia Commons
The Bill of Rights and the New Jersey Constitution both prohibit the government from entering areas without a warrant where individuals hold reasonable privacy expectations.

One exception to the warrant requirement, the Automobile Exception allows the police to circumvent the warrant application process. But the Fourth Amendment and the New Jersey Constitution differ in respect of the Automobile Exception's elements.

Under federal law, a police officer may search a vehicle, its trunk, and all its containers without a warrant, so long as the circumstances provide the requisite probable cause to believe the vehicle has contraband. Some states are in lockstep with the United States Supreme Court in this matter.

New Jersey law, however, also requires the circumstances be exigent. Absent probable cause and exigency, New Jersey law requires police to obtain a warrant before conducting the automobile search.

Although this imposes a procedural hurdle, New Jersey law allows the police to obtain a warrant telephonically instead of appearing before a judge in person.

State v. Jason Lewis (App. Div. 2010) is a recent Appellate Division opinion involving the Automobile Exception.

Experienced New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer Michael Smolensky, Esquire, knows how to protect his clients. Mr. Smolensky can provide consultations on all cases regarding the violation of individual rights.

Call Now—(856) 812-0321.

Click "New Judicial Federalism," labeled in the post footer, for more examples and explanations about this topic.