In a recent drug case coming out of a Texas court, the defendant’s challenge to a lower court’s ruling was denied. The defendant took issue with the fact that the lower court denied her motion to suppress incriminating evidence, evidence that ultimately led to her conviction for possession of a controlled substance. Despite the defendant’s argument that the lower court improperly denied this motion to suppress, her appeal was ultimately denied.
Facts of the Case
According to the opinion, the police officer involved in this case was posted in the parking lot of a Family Dollar store with the purpose of making sure people leaving the store arrived safely to their cars. The store’s employees had also asked the officer to tell the driver of a vehicle that had been parking in the store’s lot overnight to stop parking there.
A vehicle matching the employees’ description approached the parking lot, but then the driver changed course upon seeing the officer and drove away. The officer contacted dispatch and recognized the driver’s name as someone he had previously charged with drug possession. The officer followed the driver, who later became the defendant in this case. The defendant turned into a Dairy Queen parking lot, turned out her car’s lights, and eventually returned to the Family Dollar parking lot.
The officer soon approached the vehicle to notify the defendant that she was not allowed to park there after hours. During this encounter, the officer asked the defendant if he could search her vehicle since he was suspicious given her supposed attempts to “duck and dodge” an encounter with him. She declined, and the officer detained her. He then used his canine to conduct a search of the vehicle, finding THC wax, marijuana, and a bag of pills as a result.
The defendant filed a motion to suppress the drugs, arguing the officer did not have a legal basis to search her vehicle at the time of the interaction. When the trial court denied her motion to suppress, she appealed.
On appeal, the defendant argued that after the officer completed the purpose of the detention, advising her that she was not allowed to keep her car parked in the Family Dollar lot, his continued detention of her was not justified. It was unreasonable, said the defendant, for the officer to bring in his search dog when he was only speaking to her for the purpose of giving parking instructions.
The court disagreed with the defendant. In this scenario, the officer recognized the defendant’s name as someone who had previously been arrested for drug possession, giving him reason to suspect she might again have drugs on her person. It was also true, said the court, that the officer had reason to be suspicious because the defendant tried to avoid contact with him by driving into the Dairy Queen parking lot and turning off her car lights.
Given these facts and given the officer’s suspicions, the search of the defendant’s car was found to be reasonable, and the defendant’s guilty verdict was affirmed.
Have You Been Charged with Drug Possession in Texas?
If you have been arrested and charged based on drug possession in Texas, give our team a call at Guest and Gray. We handle a wide range of criminal defense cases, and we are committed to making sure your voice is heard. For a free and confidential consultation, give us a call at 972-564-4644.