In this archive episode, Dennis packs in knowledge about arresting for motor vehicle offenses and State v Irelan vs State v Eckel and their differences. Recorded on 11/07/2017.

State V. Pierce (1994)

May a police officer arrest any person who violates, in the officer’s presence, any provision of Chapter 3 or 4 of title 39?

No, although 39:5-25 imposes no limits on an officer’s authority to arrest for traffic offenses, the statute not be read literally. There are “Other sources of law” that suggest that an officer’s authority to arrest under 39:5-25 is, and should be, restricted to those offenses in which, “AN ARREST IS NECESSARY TO PROTECT PUBLIC SAFETY OR TO ASSURE THAT THE OFFENDER WILL RESPOND TO A SUMMONS!” (SOMEONE WITH NO IDENTIFCATION and YOU CAN’T FIGURE OUT WHO THEY ARE!)

Court Rules 3:4-1; 3:3-1(c); 7:2-3(b) which set forth guidelines for officers who have made warrantless arrests in determining whether to apply to the court for a summons or an arrest warrant.

State V. Lark (2000)

The court said, “Where the driver is without a license and persists concealing his identity an officer may then either continue to detain the driver for further investigation or arrest the driver under 39:3-10 (Unlicensed Driver) or 39: 3-29(Failure to provide Documents).”

In instances such as this, when a driver is without a license and offers false information in response to a reasonable police inquiry, there exists a sufficient basis for the police officer to detain the driver for further questioning until the officer learns the true identity of the driver

Assuming that the driver persists in concealing his or her identity and there appears to be no other reasonable alternative, the police officer may take the driver into custody.

State v Eckel 2006

There is no such thing as a search of a vehicle incident to arrest without probable cause associated with the vehicle itself.

STATE v. ECKEL | FindLaw

Also see Arizona V. Gant (2009) which replaced NY v. Belton (Belton Bright Line Rule).

State v Irelan 2005

This case ruled officers have the right to search a motor vehicle for open containers after an arrest for DWI.

(1) the police may lawfully affect a custodial arrest of a motorist when there is probable cause of a DWI violation;

(2) incident to the arrest, the police may search the person of the arrestee;


(3) a contemporaneous warrantless search of the vehicle is permissible

We hold that these facts are sufficient to support a reasonable well-grounded suspicion that alcohol was consumed in the vehicle, and thus the vehicle contained open containers of alcohol. Therefore, the probable cause prong of the automobile exception is met.

This will be allowed for CDS-related DWI’s as well.