New Jersey Criminal Lawyer – Appellate Opinions – State v. Johnson

State v. Johnson, 193 N.J. 528 (2008)

When the circumstances are sufficiently exigent that appearing before a judge to obtain a written warrant is either impossible or impracticable, but not so exigent that there is insufficient time to stabilize the situation and call for a warrant, police officers must obtain a telephonic warrant rather than conduct a warrantless search or seizure..

The State has argued that the exigent circumstances needed for a telephonic warrant are no different from the exigent circumstances justifying a bypass of the warrant requirement. We disagree, because if the State were correct the police would never have reason to apply for a telephonic warrant. Simply stated, for purposes of a telephonic warrant, exigent circumstances are present when law enforcement officers do not have sufficient time to obtain a written warrant. For purposes of a warrantless search, exigent circumstances are present when law enforcement officers do not have sufficient time to obtain any form of warrant.

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