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Argued January 3, 2002

The issue raised in this appeal is whether the police had probable cause to arrest defendant for defiant trespass and, if probable cause existed, whether the police should be permitted to conduct a full body search incident to an arrest for a petty disorderly persons offense. The trial court found that the State failed to establish probable cause and suppressed the evidence seized from defendant. On leave granted the Appellate Division affirmed, holding that there was no probable cause to arrest defendant for trespassing and, even if probable cause existed to arrest him, he presumptively was entitled to be released on issuance of a summons. State v. Dangerfield, 339 N.J. Super. 229, 238, 240 (App. Div. 2001). We hold that there was no probable cause to arrest defendant for trespassing. We also hold that although our court rules do not restrict the statutory authority of the police to arrest for minor offenses committed in their presence, the search of defendant incident to the arrest was improper.

I. The facts in this case were developed at a hearing on a motion filed pursuant to Rule 3:5-7 to suppress evidence seized from defendant’s person. The State and the defense presented contradictory evidence of the confrontation leading to the arrest of defendant and the search of his person. The following is a summary of that conflicting evidence.

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