How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Lucy, Esq. Your Own Question
Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 27611
Experience:  Lawyer
26798026
Type Your Legal Question Here...
Lucy, Esq. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

A couple of weeks after having major neck surgery, I had a

Customer Question

A couple of weeks after having major neck surgery, I had a friend drive me to a place of business before they opened for the day. My friend was driving my car and was legal, although he worked the midnight shift and was very tired. A Ennis, Tx officer saw him and presumed he was intoxicated, also he is a bit slow, so when the officer began questioning him he really didn't respond as someone with a higher IQ would have. I was in the backseat and when I awoke and ask what the problem was, the officer acted as though it startled him that I was there. As I had recently had double surgery due to a broken neck the backseat was in disarray due to the fact that before and after neck surgery, the arms become very weak. I had spilled some of my medication. Therefore he assumed I was dealing narcotics. It was so soon after my surgery I couldn't speak loudly enough for the officer to hear me, so he assumed I was intoxicated on narcotics. This was after I was loudly ordered to exit my car. He asked if he could search my car, and I told him he could do what the law allows. I didn't give nor deny consent to search. He pro ceeded to scream " I am the law .". He then searched my car, found the prescriptions that my Drs had written after my surgery. He then confiscated all of my meds and took me to jail in Ennis Tx. At arraignment the in Ennis charged me with possession of dangerous substances. I was handcuffed again and driven to the Ellis County Jail. After 3-5 hours I contacted my preacher so I wouldn't have to stay in jail any longer, I was in extreme pain and Ennis had all of my meds, including 2 heart meds, an antidepressant, ulcer medication, meds for nerve pain, and my pain meds that were legally prescibed after double neck surgery. By double neck surgery I was cut front and back, I will always have a cadaver bone plus bone from my hip in my neck.
I went to court to address these charges and DA Russell Jones and Judge Calvert in Waxahachie, Tx apologized and gave me a paper to take to Ennis PD stating that they were to return my meds, jewelery, blood pressure cuff, stethoscope, and all of my dogs medicine. Det Hopkins shoved the paperwork back at me saying to me or rather yelling " I'm not returning anything of yours go to the Dr and get some more meds, I refuse to accept that paperwork". I don't even know if I've been removed as a criminal, but they put my mugshot in the Ennis paper. I don't if there may be a case here, but I've just become strong enough to even try to deal with this injustice. I believe the statute of limitations will be up around February 1-5 of 2017.
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 2 months ago.

Hi,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear that this happened.

A police officer is legally authorized to search a vehicle if there is evidence of a crime or contraband plain view. The police officer who is approaching your vehicle doesn't know you just had surgery. When he looks in and sees pills in the car, that's contraband, and he's allowed to search unless you showed him all the prescriptions first (and you said you didn't). This is especially true if what he saw looked like more pills than what would be personal use due to your number of prescriptions. So while the officer's "I am the law" was inappropriate, it wasn't illegal. Once he found the prescriptions, he should have returned the pills to you. There was no reason to arrest you, since you weren't driving. It's not illegal to sleep in the back of a car.

From what you've said, you may have a case against the police for false arrest. If you win, you may be entitled to your actual damages (including the costs of having to refill all your prescriptions), plus court costs, punitive damages, and attorney's fees. For that reason, it's a good idea to have a local attorney assist you with the case. A good place to find someone in your area is www.martindale.com.

If you have any questions or concerns about my response, please reply WITHOUT RATING. It's important that you are 100% satisfied with my courtesy and professionalism. Otherwise, please rate my service positively so I am paid for the time I spend answering questions. If you are on a mobile device, you may need to scroll to the right. There is no charge for follow-up questions. Thank you.

Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 2 months ago.

Do you have any other questions about this?