NJ police no longer need search warrant in traffic stop

The New Jersey Supreme Court has put back into place an older standard for warrantless searches by police during car stops.

New Jersey police officer no longer need a warrant to search vehicles during traffic stop, thanks to a Supreme Court ruling. They only need probably cause.

New Jersey police officer no longer need a warrant to search vehicles during traffic stop, thanks to a Supreme Court ruling. They only need probably cause. (9/25/15)

WOODBRIDGE - The New Jersey Supreme Court has put back into place an older standard for warrantless searches by police during car stops.

The court's decision overturned a ruling that was put into place six years ago. New Jersey police officers are no longer required to use a search warrant during a traffic stop. However, they are required to have probable cause.

Many police officers who spoke to News 12 New Jersey say that the ruling helps expedite the process of a traffic stop and prevents the investigation from being hampered. 

Woodbridge Police Capt. Roy Hoppock says, "Most often, for our police department, we seized the vehicle and tow it to a secure location. Then we could apply for a search warrant. At that point it could take a day or two, maybe three."

Sgt. Eric Nelson agrees. "Really it helps the innocent, because they're on their way that much quicker."

However, the new ruling concerns some New Jersey residents.

"If they ask you to search your vehicle and you say no, it makes it look like you're hiding something," says resident Corey Lorentzen. "That gives them more probable cause to search your vehicle."

Several other states already have similar laws in place.

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