New Jersey Supreme Court Upholds Suppression of Drugs Resulting From Warrantless Search of House Following Noise Complaint

New Jersey Criminal Lawyers Schwartz Posnock

The New Jersey Supreme Court, in State v. Kaltner, A-8-811, unanimously upheld the suppression of drugs that had been seized by police during a room-by-room warrantless search of a house in response to a noise complaint. The police had responded to a rental shore home in Long Branch, in which a party was occurring.  After the police knocked, an unidentified man opened the door but walked away before he could be questioned.  The police walked around the first floor of the home and asked who lived there, but they did not get any responses.  They proceeded to walk around the other two floors of the house, and seized pills and a white powdery substance that they saw in plain view after looking inside a third-floor bedroom. Although the appellate judges determined that the officers’ initial entry into the home was permissible due to the consent of the person who opened the door, they rejected the state’s argument that the police were exercising their community-caretaking function when they continued to search throughout the house.  The court found that “the subsequent fanning out and conducting, in essence, a full-blown search of the house was neither reasonably related in scope to the circumstances that justified the entry in the first place nor carried out in a manner consistent with the factors supporting the entry’s initial legitimacy.” New Jersey criminal defense attorneys will find this case helpful in protecting their clients’ rights to be free from warrantless searches within their homes, particularly when such searches occur as a result of mere noise violations.  In such circumstances or ones which are comparable, New Jersey criminal lawyers should utilize this case in support of suppression motions on behalf of their clients.  If you have been charged with an offense and believe that you may be entitled to have the evidence against you suppressed, please call New Jersey criminal defense lawyers Schwartz & Posnock at (732) 544-1460.

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