Most people go down the jersey shore for a good time. For some people that means going down to Seaside Heights or Point Pleasant for a nice day on the boardwalk with the family. However, it has also become a popular destination for many others who travel to the shore for the weekend to party with drugs or alcohol. The local police are well aware of this fact and actively patrol the streets always on the look-out for illegal activities and drug use.
Our office recently defended a client who was arrested for 3rd degree possession of heroin and drug paraphernalia after being questioned, searched and arrested in his hotel room. To make matters worse, our client was also on probation for another drug case at the time of this arrest. Our client lived in Pennsylvania and had to come visit the jersey shore for the weekend like many out-of-towners. The whole incident transpired after police on foot patrol spotted a local resident they have known from past drug arrests walk into a motel off the beach block. They ran the local woman’s name in the system and found she had an open warrant. The police then watched what room she went into and then asked the manager if this woman was a guest at the motel and found out she was not. Based on these facts they went to the motel room where they saw her enter to supposedly execute the warrant. According to the police report, as the cops approached the motel room, our client opened the door and was confronted by the police about the woman they had seen go into the room earlier. The police peered into the room and could see several people inside the room. A search of the room soon ensued and the police also searched everybody inside the room which turned up charges for possession of marijuana, heroin possession, drug paraphernalia and possession of a hypodermic needle. The case was originally charged as a third degree crime because of the heroin found but was later administratively downgraded by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office.
Upon reviewing the police reports our criminal attorneys were able to determine there was no indication that the police ever had consent to search the premises from either the hotel management or the guests. Moreover there was no indication that any of the parties, including our client were every read their Miranda rights prior to making incriminating statements. We brought these issues to directly to the attention of the prosecutor and the arresting officers in order to come to a resolution without a formal hearing. Based on these discrepancies in the police reports we were able to argue that the case against our client should be dismissed in its entirety. At the end of the day our client was able to walk out of court with no criminal record and no fines or community service.
State v. B.R. decided June 5, 2018