Can the police search my bag in the Police Department? The Legality of an Inventory Search

The police went through my pocketbook without reading me my Miranda rights were “arresting me“ are they allowed to do that?

Submitted by New Jersey Criminal Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark.

This important aspect of this case has to do with whether a “inventory search” which took  place with this defendant when she was brought to a police department and questions for a murder. The police brought the defendant to the police department under the suspicion that she was involved in a murder. They used outstanding traffic tickets and Bench warrant to bring the defendant into the interrogation room and the hand cuff her. During the suppression hearing the police admitted she was not free to go because there was outstanding warrants. They also agreed they did not read her Miranda rights and then proceeded to go through her pocketbook and dump everything out on the desk. They use evidence they obtained from this “inventory search” as a basis to proceed with the investigation for the homicide and charges for the on the side.

The bigger question is are the police lawfully allowed to perform the inventory search for a person placed in the interrogation room without giving a Miranda warning? And then asking questions regarding material found from the inventory search without giving a Miranda warning.

The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled the police were not lawfully in a position to empty the defendant’s bag and proceed to ask questions regarding specific materials without having first read her Miranda warning. Because she was detained under the Miranda line of cases and she was in fact held the police should not have been questioning her as she was arrested. The questions about the content of her bag and specifically cash without first having mirandized her were improper. As a result, evidence obtained they’re probably will not be allowed to be used at the time of trial.

Jeffrey S. Hark, Esq.

609-471-1959. Cell

856-354-0050 Office

Criminal Civil Lawyer

Jeffrey Hark is a New Jersey Civil and Criminal Lawyer.

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