In the recent appellate division case, State v. Bacome the Appellate Division held that the removal of a passenger and driver from an automobile because of an alleged seat-belt violation was contrary to the New Jersey Constitution. Under New Jersey law the police must point to specific and articulable facts warranting a heightened awareness to do so during a motor vehicle traffic violation stop.
In this case the police could not point to anything that lead them to believe that the passenger posed an danger to them when they testified that the passenger could have reached under the seat to retrieve a weapon. The fact that the police believe that they had returned from Newark to purchase narcotics was also not sufficient to remove them from the vehicle. Based on these facts and law, the CDS found in the automobile was suppressed, because the officers’ alleged plain view of the narcotics occurred after the defendants had exited the motor vehicle.
Law Office of Vincent J. Sanzone, Jr., Esq.
277 North Broad Street
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Elizabeth (Union County), N.J. 07207
Essex, Hudson and Union County criminal defense attorney, protecting the rights of the criminally accused for 25-years. Practice devoted exclusively to criminal trial practice.