Suspended License Virginia Search Summons Custodial Arrest Lawyers Lee County
Commonwealth v. Rock
Defendant moved to suppress evidence obtained during a search of his vehicle.
- Whether the officer’s action of effecting a custodial arrest rather than merely issuing a summons was in violation of Va. Code § 19.2-74(A)(1)?
- Whether the search conducted pursuant to the arrest violated the Fourth Amendment?
After an officer stopped defendant for speeding, the officer discovered that defendant’s driver’s license was suspended due to two prior convictions of driving while suspended. The officer arrested defendant, and searched the car. The court found that the initial alleged offense, a third driving with a suspended license violation, was a class 1 misdemeanor and was punishable by a minimum, mandatory jail term of ten days without suspension. The provisions of Va. Code Ann. § 19.2-74(A)(1) therefore governed the case. The totality of the circumstances showed that defendant had repeatedly refused to cease his unlawful activity despite numerous past prohibitions and supported an objectively reasonable belief that he would be likely to disregard a summons by continuing to drive or failing to appear in court. This conclusion was bolstered by the fact that, unlike the previous driving-on-suspended convictions, he would be required to serve jail time in this instance. Accordingly, the officer appropriately exercised his statutory discretion, the arrest was not illegal, and the subsequent search of the passenger compartment of the vehicle was constitutional. The motion to suppress was denied
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Article written by A Sris
These summaries are provided by the SRIS Law Group. They represent the firm’s unofficial views of the Justices’ opinions. The original opinions should be consulted for their authoritative content.