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Police and Law Enforcement Home  >  Roll Call  >  When May NJ Police Search Garbage?


Roll Call

Weekly Law Enforcement
Training and Review


When May Police
Search Garbage?

Police and Law Enforcement News
Saturday, February 9
2013 10:24  a.m.



You are in your headquarters finishing up paperwork from the midnight shift when you notice two of your officers going through a garbage bag. 

You inquire, and they explain that that they removed it from the curb of a suspected drug dealer and are searching it for evidence to build a case.  Based on just the facts given, which of the following would be the best response?

A.    Fantastic job fellows!
B.    In New Jersey, you need a search warrant before removing garbage from a
C.    In New Jersey, you are permitted to remove garbage from a curb and need
       no legal cause
D.    In New Jersey, you are permitted to remove garbage from a curb and need
       no legal cause, but you need a search warrant in order to search it

The correct answer is D.

This fictitious scenario is based off of a New Jersey case, State of New Jersey vs. Hempele.

The rule is actually rather simple.

In New Jersey, police officers need no legal cause to remove garbage from the curb of a residence.  However, in order to search the garbage, they need a search warrant.





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