ICYMI – Trooper Can’t Retrieve License Without Warrant – State v. Keaton

[08/05/2015 – 12:20 p.m.]   This week, the NJ Supreme Court ruled on the appeal in State v. Keaton (argued 2/2/15, decided 8/3/15). The matter at hand was whether a law enforcement officer may legally enter a disabled vehicle to gather proof of registration and insurance.

After the defendant was involved in an accident that flipped over his car on I-295 in Camden County, a state trooper searched the car before the driver had an opportunity to gather his license/registration/insurance info. During the search, the trooper seized illegal drugs and an unlicensed firearm. In a unanimous opinion written by Justice Fernandez-Vina, the Court ruled that the warrantless search by the trooper should have led to the evidence being suppressed.

For the PDF of the opinion in State v. Keaton, click here.