Blog

What A Recent Case Might Mean for Charges Stemming From a Restraining Order Search

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Sep 01, 2021 | 0 Comments

A recent murder case will test the limits of search warrants issued under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act ("PDVA"). In the case, the State indicted a South Jersey man for double homicide, weapons charges, and drug possession. The evidence used to substantiate the charges came from a search police officers conducted pursuant to a restraining order search.

What Is a Restraining Order Search?

The PDVA grants courts the authority to issue restraining orders to protect a victim of domestic violence. Along with the order, judges authorize the police to search and seize any weapons that may pose a threat to the victim from the defendant's home or any other place. This search is often called a restraining order search.

In this recent case, the defendant's ex-girlfriend alleged that the defendant threatened her with a gun and admitted to killing two homicide victims earlier that year. With this testimony, the court granted the ex-girlfriend a temporary restraining order and authorized officers to conduct a weapons search of the defendant's home. Police officers found a loaded shotgun, two loaded handgun magazines, and illegal narcotics during the search. Officers charged both the defendant and his mother, who live together at the residence, with weapons offenses and drug possession. They also charged the defendant with double homicide based on the ex-girlfriend's testimony and other evidence found at the scene.

What is the Scope of a Restraining Order Search?

Judges only issue criminal search warrants after there is a probable cause finding based on sworn testimony. However, in New Jersey, there is another type of search warrant referred to as a special needs warrant. Special needs warrants fall under the community caretaking function of the police. The primary purpose of a special needs warrant is to promote the government's interest in the safety of its citizens. Judges may issue these warrants when there is a reasonable need to protect the security of citizens. However, because the basis of these warrants is community caretaking, not criminal activity, the law limits the search scope.

A restraining order search occurs as a result of this special type of search warrant. With a restraining order warrant, judges authorize officers to remove weapons from the defendant's residence to protect the victim. However, these warrants do not allow the search and seizure of criminal evidence unrelated to the domestic violence case. The police must meet other conditions to substantiate charges based on discovering evidence in this way. Because of this, it is unclear whether the court will allow the State to use the evidence it uncovered in this current case at trial.

Getting Legal Help

Defending yourself against a restraining order or related charges is not something you should tackle on your own, especially if your freedom is at stake. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has years of experience fighting for the rights of the accused in New Jersey and can help you with your case too. Call (888) 535-3686 now to speak directly with Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm about your matter today.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients in criminal courtrooms in New Jersey as well as Pennsylvania and nationwide. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. With unparalleled experience occupying several roles in the criminal justice system outside of being an attorney, Joseph D. Lento can give you valuable behind-the-scenes insight as to what is happening during all phases of the legal process. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!

Comments

There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

​​​Contact The Lento Law Firm Today

footer-2.jpg

When it comes to criminal defense cases, you need the right person in your corner. To learn more about how Mr. Lento can help you, call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686. or contact him online.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations - the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Allegheny, Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Schuylkill, and York County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, In New York, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New York's 62 counties. Outside of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance may not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, New York, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.

Menu