In a recent drug case in Texas, the court denied the defendant’s motion to suppress incriminating evidence. Originally charged with possession of PCP, the defendant appealed his guilty verdict by arguing that the court should not have denied his motion to suppress evidence. The higher court rejected the defendant’s argument, affirming the original verdict in his case.
Facts of the Case
According to the opinion, a police officer in Texas somehow obtained information about a planned gang shooting that was supposed to happen in the near future. The officer learned that one member of the gang was en route to pick up guns from a private residence, so the officer immediately went to the house to see if he could see any suspicious activity. At some point during that surveillance, the officer saw the defendant drive up to the house, stop briefly, then drive away.
After following the car for a few minutes, the officer saw the defendant turn without signaling. The officer and his partner put on their lights to initiate a traffic stop. The defendant began driving slowly for about a minute before he finally pulled over – the officers suspected this was so he could hide the guns he had just taken from the house. When the officers were able to approach the stopped vehicle, they smelled marijuana. They then searched the car and the defendant himself, finding a bag of marijuana as well as a bottle of PCP in the defendant’s pants. The defendant was later found guilty of possession of PCP weighing more than 4 and less than 200 grams.
On appeal, the defendant argued that the trial court should not have been able to use the PCP that the officer found as incriminating evidence. According to the defendant, there was video evidence showing that the police officer could not have actually seen the alleged traffic violation, making the initial traffic stop illegal. As evidence, the defendant provided a map of the street on which he was driving. He marked on the map exactly where the officer was located at the time of the traffic stop, according to the officer’s body camera footage. He also marked where the traffic violation allegedly occurred and used these timestamps to show that there was no way the officer could have actually seen him commit a traffic violation.
The State pointed out a relevant fact about body camera footage: once an officer activates his or her camera, the video goes back one minute so that it shows video one minute prior to activating the camera. Therefore, said the State, the defendant’s map was inaccurate, in that it only showed where the officer was located one minute before the incident. Because of this inaccuracy, it was reasonable to believe that the officer could physically see the defendant’s car at the time of the traffic stop, and thus it made sense to believe that the officer had reason to initiate the stop in the first place.
For these reasons, the court rejected the defendant’s argument and affirmed his guilty verdict.
Are You Facing Drug Charges in Texas?
If you or a loved one are facing criminal charges related to drug possession in Texas, our team at Guest and Gray is here to help. We understand that fighting drug charges can feel like a complex and difficult process, and we are proud to stand by your side as we lend our expertise to your case. For a free and confidential consultation, give us a call at 972-564-4644. We represent clients in Dallas, Rockwall, Collin and Kaufman counties.