Illegal Traffic Stop, Motion to Suppress NJ Gun Cases

Firearms Charge Defense Lawyers with offices in Hackensack, New Jersey

No probable cause for arrest NJ gun lawyers
Probable Cause for Stop and Search NJ Gun Charges

Gun crime charges commonly arise from traffic stops. However, the traffic stop leading to criminal charges must be legal. When law enforcement stops a vehicle for insufficient reason, any evidence seized after the stop is considered inadmissible in a court of law. Thus, the state usually has insufficient evidence to charge or convict an individual for unlawful gun possession when the gun is inadmissible evidence. A prosecutor would have a hard time convincing the jury beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant had an illegal weapon in their vehicle when the gun is not allowed to be presented as evidence. For this reason, it is vital to have a skilled weapons crime defense lawyer review your case to find potential violations of your rights and procedural errors that can be used to beat the gun charge against you. One of the main ways to win a weapons case in New Jersey is to successfully challenge the illegal traffic stop that led to the charges. An experienced gun defense attorney at The Tormey Law Firm can help strategize this type of defense approach if an illegal traffic stop led to a gun seizure.

The firearms defense team at the Tormey Law Firm LLC is composed of former NJ gun prosecutors and seasoned NJ defense attorneys who will examine every aspect of your case (including the probable cause for your initial traffic stop (if applicable)) in order to have your charges downgraded or dismissed entirely. In fact, our managing partner, Travis J. Tormey, was recently recognized as one of the top 10 criminal lawyers in the State of New Jersey by the American Jurist Institute. In addition, Mr. Tormey is a 10.0 rating on and has received the client’s choice award on AVVO for 11 straight years. If you or a loved one needs assistance with a firearms issue in New Jersey, contact our offices anytime for immediate assistance at (201)-614-2474. We represent clients throughout New Jersey including in Lodi, Lyndhurst, North Arlington, Teaneck, and East Rutherford. The initial consultation is always provided free of charge.

Here is a review from one of our firm’s Bergen County firearms offense cases:

“Worth every penny. Words can not express how pleased I was with my decision to retain Christopher Perry. I had never had any legal issues in the past and had no idea how to proceed. Mr. Perry explained every step with patience and attention to detail, his knowledge and professionalism immediately eased my anxiety. He was attentive and answered every one of my questions immediately to the fullest extent of his abilities. The outcome of my case was ideal and I firmly believe it was entirely due to having Mr. Perry as my attorney. I HIGHLY recommend him to anyone who may find themselves in need of his services and would not hesitate to use him in the future. Words can not express how impressed I was with his services through the entire 9 month process. Look no further you have found your attorney.”


Motion to Suppress: Challenge the Motor Vehicle Stop in NJ Gun Cases

Routine traffic stops in New Jersey can turn into serious weapons charges. One of the potential ways to challenge (and potentially beat) your NJ gun charge is to challenge the cause for the initial traffic stop. If a gun was found in your motor vehicle and you were charged with unlawful possession of a weapon or possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, those charges could be dismissed if the Court finds that the initial traffic stop in your case was illegal. This is based on the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine. Thus, any evidence obtained through illegal means (in this case an illegal or unlawful traffic stop which gave rise to a weapon being seized) then that evidence should be suppressed and thrown out by the Judge.

For example, if the basis for your motor vehicle stop was failure to maintain lane and the New Jersey State Trooper’s dash cam clearly shows that you did lawfully maintain your lane of travel then this is an unlawful and illegal traffic stop. Any guns, drugs, or any other illegal property which was seized from your vehicle after this illegal traffic stop was unlawful and should be suppressed (thrown out) of court. If the evidence is suppressed, then the case will most likely be dismissed.

Reasonable Suspicion: The First Requirement for a Traffic Stop in NJ

Beat a Gun Charge by Challenging an Illegal Traffic Stop in NJ The police cannot pull an individual over for no reason, and they cannot stop a driver without an articulable and reasonable suspicion of a violation. An officer may reasonably suspect that an individual committed a crime. A reasonable suspicion is not the same as probable cause, the standard for justifying a search or arrest, but the step leading to probable cause. When criminal conduct is evident, or a crime is more likely in progress or already committed, an officer has probable cause to take further investigative action, like a search.

Traffic violations a police officer witnesses are sufficient grounds for a stop. So, for example, a driver speeding past a police car justifies a motor vehicle stop of the speeder to ticket them. They may estimate the driver’s speed relative to the speed of other vehicles on the road to evidence their suspicion of a traffic violation or record the excessive speed on a radar gun. Speeding is a motor vehicle violation that causes a significant percentage of car accidents yearly and is against the law. As such, stopping a motor vehicle violating road laws is justifiable.

Equipment failure is another valid reason to stop a vehicle. A broken taillight or missing rearview mirror will cause legitimate police stops because the law requires motor vehicles on the road to have operable equipment, again for safety reasons. Also, erratic driving may be grounds for a stop. The police must demonstrate that they have reasonable information that a traffic or other violation occurred or is occurring before they stop a vehicle, like expired registration tags or a broken muffler. However, an expired registration or equipment failure may not be enough to arrest someone. It only allows for the motor vehicle stop to occur.

Even if the Motor Vehicle Stop was Lawful, Probable Cause for the Search of the Vehicle May Not Be

Case law requires police to obtain a warrant to search a vehicle or to have probable cause to believe that a crime is involved in order to conduct a search of the car. A typical scenario may be that the red police car lights flash, the driver pulls over, and the police ask for identification documents. While the driver collects their license and registration, the police officer suspects a legal violation is underway or has occurred. The clues may be the smell of alcohol on the driver’s breath or the observation of drugs or drug paraphernalia, a gun in plain view, or ammunition in the vehicle, among others. A car search often follows, and the police find a gun. However, the search cannot be conducted without probable cause or a search warrant being issued. In the absence of probable cause and no search warrant, any evidence obtained during the search is also considered fruit of the poisonous tree and cannot be used against you in a court of law. This provides yet another defense option for a knowledgeable weapons defense lawyer.

Best Defense to Gun Charges in Bergen County? Contact us for more information.

For more information about strategies to defend NJ gun charges, contact our offices anytime for a free initial consultation at (201)-614-2474. If your charges involve unlawful police behavior, talk to a gun lawyer on our team about it. An illegal stop can benefit a defendant’s case as it weakens the state’s case and can leverage a better outcome for the defense. The most common result is a complete dismissal when the prosecution can no longer introduce the weapon itself that led to the weapons charges.

When the police seize a gun after an illegal traffic stop, the prosecution faces a tough decision. Prosecutors do not like to lose cases. They know they have a high burden of proof to meet to convince juries to convict. We can approach the prosecutor early to avoid unnecessary time in fruitless litigation. The prosecutor may decide to dismiss the case. Even if the prosecution does not dismiss the case, they may do so later as the investigation on both sides unfolds.  If not, our attorneys can file a motion to exclude from the trial any evidence obtained after the illegal stop, including seized evidence from a search, like the gun. You may get an acquittal when the judge excludes the firearm or other evidence.

Be sure to contact a notable gun lawyer at our accomplished New Jersey criminal defense firm soon after your arrest. We will begin investigating the facts you convey right away, such as obtaining police cam evidence of the stop and the rest of the discovery. The video may be enough evidence to show that the traffic stop had no basis, and we may find other ways to challenge your gun case and expedite a favorable result. Our gun lawyers defend clients who are pulled over, have their cars searched, and then get arrested for firearms such as handguns, rifles, and shotguns on New Jersey highways, local roads, and city streets. Whether your gun charges arose in Bergen County, Passaic County, Hudson County, Morris County, Union County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, or elsewhere in New Jersey, contact us today for a free consultation at (201) 614-2474.