NEWARK, JERSEY CITY, ELIZABETH, New Jersey. When police are called for a noise complaint, what are the rights of the people who encounter police, and what can police do and not do when it comes to gathering evidence? The constitution grants wide protections to the public when it comes to protection against unwarranted searches. Officers must have reason to believe a crime is in progress or a crime has taken place. In most cases, police have no right to enter a person’s home, and in general, if officers are knocking on your door and the officers don’t have a warrant, you do not have to open the door. However, if officers are called due to a noise complaint, what happens if, in the course of responding to the complaint, police find evidence of illegal activity. A recent New Jersey Supreme Court case offers some guidance.
The case in question involved a situation where officers were called to a hotel room for a noise complaint. Officers asked the renter of the room to lower the noise and the renter complied. Officers then asked for identification of the people in the room and, in the process, found warrants for their arrest. The individuals later fought the case in court, taking it to the New Jersey Supreme Court, arguing that once the noise was turned down, officers had no authority to run warrant checks on the room’s occupants. The Supreme Court of New Jersey affirmed this, noting that once the noise had been lowered, the police had no additional authority to search or detain the room’s occupants.
The only way officers would have the right to search the other individuals in the room would be if they had reason to believe that criminal activity was taking place or was about to take place. When the officers failed to issue a summons for the noise violation, the officers essentially affirmed that they didn’t have reason to believe that criminal activity was taking place.
What does this mean if you have been arrested in New Jersey? First, you always have the right to remain silent and to refuse any searches of your home or person. Always affirm this right. If you are under arrest, you have the right to ask to speak to a lawyer. The Law Office of Eric M. Mark are criminal defense attorneys in Newark, Jersey City, and Elizabeth who may be able to review your case to determine whether evidence gathered during a search or police stop was gathered legally.
The constitution protects individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures. However, individuals may not always know their rights during the fear and confusion of a stop or during an arrest. You have rights under the law. Visit us at https://www.ericmarklaw.com/ to learn more.
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