Traffic Stop Detention of 26 Minutes Was Reasonable – State v. Baum

New Jersey courts have yet to establish a precise amount of detention time that will convert a routine traffic stop into a de facto arrest. As a general rule, the longer a law enforcement traffic stop continues, the more likely the courts will be to regard the investigative detention as an arrest. In today’s decision in State v. Baum, the Appellate Division found that an investigative, roadside detention of 26 minutes was reasonable, given that the delay was attributed to the false stories of the driver and passenger as well as some small measure of delay attributable to the police. Note when reading the decision that the court quotes precisely what the police and defendants said to each other at the scene of the motor vehicle stop. This evidence, (as well as the precise time of the investigative detention) was obviously taken from a video recording of the stop, and was a crucial factor in the State’s ability to persuade the Appellate Division to reverse the Law Division holding at the trial level.

Download a copy of State v. Baum.

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