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SCOTUS rules on hot pursuit, New Jersey

On Behalf of | Aug 4, 2021 | Criminal Defense

The new ruling by SCOTUS stops police officers from entering your New Jersey property without a warrant even when they are in hot pursuit. However, there are some exceptions to this rule; for instance, if the crime is a felony, police officers could conduct a warrantless search. Read on to find out more about this ruling and how it could affect you.

Hot pursuit in New Jersey

U.S. Supreme Court firmly upholds the Fourth Amendment rights of Americans. A police officer has no right to intrude into your life or property without serious probable cause, and the law also requires them to obtain a warrant from the magistrate or a judge before they conduct a search. So, if a police officer intrudes on your property or your life, you should talk with a criminal defense attorney to avoid unlawful arrests or prosecutions.

Exigent circumstances

The Fourth Amendment right applies only if the crime committed is a misdemeanor. The officer must get a warrant if they have the time to do so, even if you flee. But, they could intrude without a warrant based on the surrounding circumstances and the gravity of the crime you have committed.

SCOTUS also recognizes that a police officer could have a good reason to enter your property. For instance, if they fear that you will violate the evidence, cause further harm or escape from your home, they can conduct a warrantless search. The New Jersey criminal courts will then review the circumstances for the warrantless intrusion to see if it is acceptable.

How to address unlawful intrusions

When a police officer breaches your Fourth Amendment right by searching or entering your property in hot pursuit for a misdemeanor without a warrant, what they are doing is illegal. The court will require that police officer to prove that the warrantless search had to be done based on the underlying conditions as stated before.

It would help to work with an attorney if you ever find yourself in such a situation. The legal system can get complicated sometimes, and working with someone that knows their way around the criminal department is invaluable.