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State v. Verpent


State v. Verpent: Will NJ Extend the Warrant Requirement to Include Collection of Urine?

Written by: James Alexander Abate
Law Offices of James A. Abate

Earlier this year the United States Supreme Court held that police need a warrant before taking blood evidence (McNeely v. Minnesota).  In State v. Verpent, the NJ Supreme Court considered whether, post McNeely, Police should be required to obtain a warrant before taking urine.

Lack of Exigency

In State v. Verpent, police pulled over Mr. Verpent, arrested him under suspicion of DWI, and brought him into the station.  Police then waited 4 hours before taking a urine sample to test for drugs, but claimed that they did not seek a warrant due to an exigency. Thus, the issue was whether the lack of an exigency required police to get a warrant.

Court Raises McNeely

While McNeely was not truly implicated, it was raised by the Court. If the Court finds that the privacy concerns of taking urine from a defendant are more invasive than a breath test (which most defendants would agree) then the potential exists for New Jersey to require a warrant for urine in light of McNeely. The court may punt on this as it does not directly involve McNeely and require a warrant where there is no exigency, leaving the question of whether McNeely should apply to all urine tests for another day.

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