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Former Prosecutor

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Former State Prosecutor and Criminal Trial Attorney

Former State Prosecutor

Former Atlantic County Prosecutor

Certified Criminal Trial Attorney

Experienced for over 35 years

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Atlantic City Criminal Defense Attorney Fights to Protect Your Rights after a Vehicle Search in New Jersey

It is not uncommon for a routine traffic stop in Atlantic City, New Jersey, to turn into a full-fledged vehicle search for drugs, weapons or other evidence of criminal activity. Sometimes, an eager cop suspects something and decides to act on it by searching your vehicle without a warrant. There are times when a vehicle search without a warrant is lawful; other times if your vehicle gets searched without a warrant and you are subsequently charged with a crime, you may have a built-in defense strategy.

At the Law Offices of John W. Tumelty, we have over 35 years of experience in criminal law in New Jersey. Our extensive criminal law background has given us the knowledge and experience to successfully defend clients in cases involving unlawful vehicle searches in Lakewood, Middletown, Little Egg Harbor and throughout NJ. We are well-versed in New Jersey Search and Seizure laws, which protect an individual’s right to privacy. If there is any question as to the proper following of protocol during the vehicle search, we will push for a Motion to Suppress evidence. Fighting to prove that a vehicle search was invalid is a highly complex process and it requires the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Criminal Defense Lawyer Protects Your Rights When You are the Victim of Unlawful Search of a Vehicle in Little Egg Harbor, Lakewood and Middletown

In order to lawfully search a motor vehicle without a warrant in New Jersey, certain requirements must first be met. During a valid traffic stop, if both of the two requirements below are present, law enforcement may proceed with a warrantless search.

  • There is Probable Cause that the vehicle contains evidence of a crime (such as drugs or a weapon.)   
  • There is an Exigent Circumstance which will make it difficult, or impossible, for the police to protect the evidence if they are forced to get a search warrant.

This situation is common when there is a  risk of evidence being destroyed or lost before the search warrant is obtained.

If both requirements have been met, law enforcement may start the vehicle search. However, there’s often debate over whether the police officer did meet the requirements to legally search a car without a warrant. In these cases, Mr. Tumelty can challenge the search and the seizure of any property.

In New Jersey, courts must consider multiple factors when deciding if the warrantless search of a vehicle was lawful. Even if there was probable cause and exigent circumstances, other factors may be called into question. Some of these factors are below:

  • Location of the stop
  • Time of day
  • Nature of the neighborhood
  • Unfolding of events establishing probable cause
  • Ratio of officers to suspects

As you can see, there are a lot of questions surrounding what makes a warrantless vehicle search lawful, and this isn’t the entire list. Mr. Tumelty has represented countless people in Atlantic and Cape May counties and fought unlawful vehicle searches. We will explain your rights and will work tirelessly to get your charges dismissed or downgraded.

Contact the Law Offices of John W. Tumelty Today for a Free Consultation about Your Vehicle Search & Seizure

The legal team at the Law Offices of John W. Tumelty has experience in even the most difficult vehicle search cases. Our experience, understanding and knowledge have allowed us to successfully defend clients in all types of criminal cases for over 35 years. If you or someone you know is facing any type of drug charges or weapons offense, contact Mr. Tumelty today for a free consultation. He has three offices to serve you in Atlantic City, Somers Point or Marmora. Call him at 609.385.4010 or fill out this confidential form and our legal team will contact you shortly.


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