US Supreme Court Rules Against Warrantless Entry for DUI Arrest

On June 23, 2021, the US Supreme Court decided Lange v. California. In this case, the defendant was arrested for driving under the influence after the highway patrol officer entered the defendant’s garage without a warrant.

The defendant was initially followed by the highway patrol officer after driving on the highway playing loud music and honking his horn. The defendant failed to stop for the officer, which is a misdemeanor offense in California. The defendant went inside his garage and the officer followed him.

The defendant was given field sobriety tests and was arrested for driving under the influence, which is also a misdemeanor in California.

The US Supreme Court decided that an officer’s pursuit of a misdemeanor suspect “does not always justify a warrantless entry into a home.” The Court ruled that “the officer must consider all the circumstances in a pursuit case to determine whether there is a law enforcement emergency.”

In New Jersey, driving while under the influence and driving while intoxicated are considered traffic offenses, not misdemeanor offenses. However, since traffic offenses are generally considered less serious than misdemeanor offenses, a strong argument can be made to apply this ruling to New Jersey cases.

If you have been charged with a DWI/DUI or related offense, do not make the mistake of assuming that you should just plead guilty. It is important have an attorney dedicated to DWI/DUI defense review and analyze your case for possible defenses since all cases are not the same. Call Jason T. Komninos, Esq. at (201) 343-4622 to schedule a consultation.