Traffic Ticket Virginia Driving Suspended License Attorneys Richmond City
GARRY v. COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
On August 20, 1998, Officer observed Garry traveling in a car at a high rate of speed. Officer initiated a traffic stop and discovered Burney’s license had been suspended. He placed Garry under arrest for reckless driving and driving with a suspended license and conducted a search of his person incident to arrest. The Officer searched Garry for illegal contraband, escape devices, and weapons. During the search, he pulled Burney’s waistband out in the front and immediately saw two plastic bags in front of Burney’s genital area. One bag contained crack cocaine and the other bag contained heroin. After defendant’s motion to suppress the evidence obtained during a search of his person was denied, defendant entered conditional guilty pleas for possession of heroin with the intent to distribute, possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute, and failure to appear in court. The Circuit Court of Richmond (Virginia) accepted the pleas and convicted him. Defendant appealed.
- Whether the trial court erred in denying his motion and admitting the Commonwealth’s evidence?
- Whether the police conducted a “strip search and the search violated Code § 19.2-59.1?
- Whether the evidence was obtained as a result of an illegal search?
The court held that the offenses did not constitute traffic infractions. Consequently, the definition of a strip search in Va. Code Ann. § 19.2-59.1 did not apply to the case. The officer pulled back the waistband of defendant’s underwear and looked inside, immediately spotting two bags containing suspected narcotics. Contrary to defendant’s contention, the evidence did not indicate that the officer could see defendant’s genitals when the officer pulled back his underwear. The officer did not touch defendant’s genitals. Thus, defendant was not subjected to a “strip search,” and the trial court did not err by denying his motion to suppress the evidence obtained during the search incident to his arrest.
Hence this court affirmed the Judgment of the trial court.
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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.