Traffic Stop Virginia Drugs Cocaine Lawyers Brunswick County
Mc. RENOLD v. COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
A police officer observed a pickup truck with an inoperative brake light. He stopped the vehicle and intending to issue Ellis a summons for inoperative brake light. The officer recalled that Ellis and her passenger had a “previous narcotics history.” This conversation took about a minute. On his way back to his vehicle, the officer called for a canine narcotics unit to assist him. He then got back into his vehicle to issue the summons for the equipment violation. The canine narcotics unit arrived and searched Ellis and discovered cocaine. Ellis was convicted by the Circuit Court of the City of Virginia Beach of possession of cocaine.
- Whether the trial court erred in fails to suppress the evidence of cocaine found on her person during a traffic stop?
The court held that “the officer’s one-minute conversation about drugs cannot be characterized as an exploitive, unconstitutional act. Where a seizure of a person is based on probable cause to believe that a traffic violation was committed, an officer does not violate the Fourth Amendment by asking a few questions about matters unrelated to the traffic violation, even if this conversation briefly extends the length of the detention. Ellis consented to a search while being detained by an officer having probable cause to issue her a citation for a malfunctioning brake light. The drug dog’s multiple alerts and Ellis’s subsequent consent took place before the officer completed the paperwork necessary for issuing a summons for the equipment violation. The brief, incremental delay caused by the officer’s questions regarding drugs did not violate the Fourth Amendment and, a fortiori, did not constitute an exploitive basis for securing Ellis’s consent.” This court finds that no error in trial court reasoning or result, affirmed the trial court judgment.
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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.