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Opening A Car Door Without Permission Results In Suppression Of A Weapon

The Appellate Division found on December 20, 2022, that "[s]uddenly opening a car door is unconstitutionally intrusive because the police officer thereby surprises the occupant when the latter is entitled to consider [their] private affairs secure from outside scrutiny . . . . Opening the door sufficiently partakes of an "exploratory investigation" as to constitute a search." Id. at 540-41 (emphasis added) (internal citation omitted) (quoting State v. Giffin, 84 N.J. Super. 508, 517 (App. Div. 1964)). The Court went on to find that the Detective’s action in opening the door was an impermissible search, and the evidence which flowed from it, namely the backpack and the handgun, should have been suppressed.


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