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POLICE GENERALLY CANNOT SEARCH YOUR CAR WITHOUT A SEARCH WARRANT; HOWEVER ITEMS PROPERLY OBSERVED IN “PLAIN VIEW” CAN BE SEIZED BY POLICE.

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS

POLICE GENERALLY CANNOT SEARCH YOUR CAR WITHOUT A SEARCH WARRANT; HOWEVER ITEMS PROPERLY OBSERVED IN “PLAIN VIEW” CAN BE SEIZED BY POLICE.

Law enforcement officers are required to obtain search warrants before they search anything including homes, cars, or businesses. There are exceptions to that rule. One of the exceptions to the warrant requirement is the “Plain View” doctrine. The essence of that doctrine is that for the “Plain View” exception to apply, an officer must first be lawfully in the viewing area. Then, the item of evidence in question (such as a gun, drugs, or any other pertinent evidence) must immediately appear to be an item of contraband or evidence of illegal activity.

The New Jersey Supreme Court recently revisited the “Plain View” exception again in STATE V. COOPER, 214 N.J. 176,2013 N.J. LEXIS 760 (N.J. 2013). In that case, police searched the trunk of a car without a warrant. The police did not have consent to search the trunk, nor did any other exception to the warrant requirement exist to justify that search. Upon opening the trunk, police observed a gun, clothing, and proceeds of a robbery. Ultimately the Court ruled that the initial opening of the trunk was an illegal search because the police did not have a warrant, and they did not have consent to open the trunk. Therefore, even though the evidence was within view once the trunk was opened, the police were not lawfully in the viewing area (i.e. they would not have been able to see the evidence had they not unlawfully opened the trunk of the car in the first place).

If you are facing criminal charges for possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession of a firearm, or possession of any other evidence that law enforcement intends to use to prosecute you, you should contact me immediately. I have taught the subject of search and seizure law to law enforcement for nearly a decade. I understand your rights and can guide you through your legal entanglements.

If you need assistance, please do not hesitate to contact attorney Michael Mormando, Esquire, at the law firm of Attorneys Hartman, Chartered, at 856-235-0220.

J.E.

I was served with disciplinary charges at work which then developed into criminal charges. Katie explained each issue to me, and was able to resolve both the criminal case and my discipline! She was always available to me if I had questions and I am very happy with the outcome!

I.D.W.

After working with another attorney, who messed up my case, I hired Katherine Hartman to represent me. I found her to be sincere, trustworthy, knowledgeable and patient in explaining everything to me. In short, Katherine kept me out of jail and I would hire again! (Even though I hope I never have to see her again!)

J.C.

I highly recommend the Hartman Law Firm. Katie Hartman is a true professional, and an absolute advocate for her clients. She takes pride in making herself available for her clients in regards to questions or concerns relating to your case. She will leave no stone unturned!

D.Y.

I wish I could select a higher star rating. Our Company was assisted by Michael Mormando of Attorneys Hartman in a municipal case and we simply could not be happier with the way our case was handled. Michael was extremely knowledgeable and professional. He is a true master of his craft and we would highly recommend his services

D.C.

Katherine was such a pleasure to work with! She was very caring, responsive, and professional throughout my whole experience. I will continue to recommend her and her firm to all of my friends and family

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