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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 90282
Experience:  Attorney with over 20 years law enforcement, prosecution, civil rights and defense experience
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Hello,I was surprised by a DNR checkpoint on a dirt road

Customer Question

I was surprised by a DNR checkpoint on a dirt road of of highway 150 in summit county Friday night. I had an empty beer can on the floor of my truck and two six packs of unopened beers with one missing out of each. I was asked for my registration and license which i fumbled around for in shock. The officers were on both sides of my trucks with flash lights looking through the window so they so the empty as long as a few more in the back seat so they asked me to get out of the vehicle, trying to be cooperative I gave them every empty I had in the truck but they asked if they could take a look any way and I said sure not understanding they would rifle through my the whole cab and every bag I had in there while they put me through a sobriety test in freezing temperatures with out letting me put a jacket on. I passed the sobriety test which lasted probably a half hour and finally ended when I blew a .022 which they would't tell me until I blew another .022 some twenty minutes later. During the sobriety test a forrest range held up a back pack and asked if there were any more empties in it and if he could check (it was almost empty and flimsy so you could obviously tell there were no empties in it) I said no and no. He had already looked in the pack I'm sure so he said he would get the dog I said fine open it and he said no now I need to use the dog as to not be coercive. I was not allowed to see them search the truck because I was following a finger for an extra long time and the bag was out of my possession and sight for quite some time, I also never saw the dog which gave a positive sign. The bag had a small amount of marijuana and paraphernalia in it. I was sited by the DNR for open container, possession of marijuana, and possession of paraphernalia and released which is lucky in this state I should have been arrested and my vehicle impounded. What do I do now? Besides get a lawyer obviously and how bad will the results be for me? This is my first ever offense of any kind.
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 11 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.

The marijuana charge can be a class B misdemeanor if there was less than an ounce which is punishable by up to 6 months in jail and up to about a $2000 fine and assessments. If you had more than 1 ounce then it is a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a fine and assessments of up to about $4800. The open container is a violation and it is something that they wrote to try to establish probable cause for looking in the backpack.

You know the obvious as you stated, the cost will likely be about $2500 or so to defend you on this and they will challenge the search based on not being done without a warrant and really without your consent. Also, as a first offender there is a potential that your attorney can negotiate a deferred sentence where you would get probation and pay the fine and if you have no subsequent violations in 12 months they will dismiss the charge and allow you to keep your record clear of convictions. This is something your attorney has to negotiate for you and it is not automatic.

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