Thursday, May 14, 2015
Suppression granted where stop based on driver high beams on. State v. Witt
Suppression granted where stop based on driver high beams on. State v. Witt 435 NJ Super. 608 (App. Div. 2014)
The court granted leave to appeal an order granting defendant's motion to suppress evidence seized during a warrantless search of his vehicle. The court affirmed not only because it is bound by State v. Pena-Flores, 198 N.J. 6 (2009), and its many antecedents, and not only because no exigencies for the search were revealed during the suppression hearing, but also because there was no legitimate basis for the motor vehicle stop that preceded the search. In this last regard, the record demonstrated that the police officer stopped defendant's vehicle because defendant did not dim his high beams as he drove by the officer's parked patrol vehicle. Because the patrol vehicle was not an "oncoming vehicle," and because there were no other "oncoming vehicles" on the road at the time, the police officer did not have objectively reasonable grounds to believe defendant had violated the high-beam statute, N.J.S.A. 39:3-60, in making the vehicle stop.