Have you been pulled over for a motor vehicle violation in the state of New Jersey? Have the police asked you to get out of your car? Are the police asking you lots of questions once you were out of your car? How far can the police go to ask you questions arising out of a motor vehicle stop?
Submitted by New Jersey Criminal Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark
These are the very issues addressed in this case by the New Jersey Appellate Division. The facts of this case are very clear. The police cannot ask you questions beyond the scope of the motor vehicle stop if it is going to extend the time and the delay of the subject for which you have been pulled over. In other words, this case indicate that the police cannot continue on a fishing expedition and ask questions if they have no other basis such as observed illegal activity, intoxication, or similar facts. The decision reinforces the rule that the police cannot extend a motor vehicle stop for too long without an independent basis for arrest and detention. The increased time and inconvenience caused by the motor vehicle stop for the unrelated questions is deemed an arrest and without the appropriate probable cause is illegal.
This case presents a very ordinary and straightforward issue that affects every driver of every car in the state of New Jersey. Here the Appellate Division Squirrley attacked the police officers questions regarding “track marks quote on the defendants arms at the time of the motor vehicle stop which was unrelated to the basis for the last stop. The court states:
“The result of Togno’s improper request and observations of Crane’s arms led to further detention and investigation, questioning of Crane and then defendant and ultimately obtaining their consent to search. In Carty, supra, 170 N.J. at 647, the Court held for the first time “that consent searches following a lawful stop of a motor vehicle should not be deemed valid . . . unless there is reasonable and articulable suspicion to believe that an errant motorist or passenger has engaged in, or is about to engage in, criminal activity.” Any reasonable suspicion formed by Officer Togno was wholly inseparable from the unlawful request that Crane show her arms without advising her that she could refuse.”
As a result of the polices inappropriate conduct at this juncture the Appellate Division suppressed any of the evidence and reversed the trial courts determination that the police did nothing wrong. Essentially, the police did everything wrong in this case and violated the defendants’ privacy rights under the federal and state constitutions prohibiting illegal search and seizure.
If this happens you please you if this happens you please call us immediately so we can help you with your traffic and criminal charges.