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Does a police officer HAVE to tow and "inventory" a vehicle…

Does a police officer...

Does a police officer HAVE to tow and "inventory" a vehicle if there is a legal driver able to take possession of the vehicle when the driver has been arrested . I believe an officer conducted an "inventory" search just to see if he could find something .. which he found a glass pipe with residue that I had no idea was in the vehicle. The officer DID NOT actually perform the "inventory" ... he is unable to provide it. Is there anything I can do to get the evidence suppressed??

Lawyer's Assistant: What state is this in? And how old is the car?

Texas 2011 dodge

Lawyer's Assistant: Has anything been filed or reported?

Possession of a controlled substance

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

The vehicle registration was outdated..

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Answered in 1 minute by:
3/10/2018
Zoey, JD
Zoey, JD, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 31,444
Experience: Active member of the NYS bar since 1989
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Hi,

I'm Zoey.

I've reviewed your post. Please be patient as I may need to research for you, and it also takes time to compose and type a reply.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Thank you ...

If the vehicle was unregistered, the car is not supposed to be on the road at all. So an officer would automatically impound the vehicle rather than let someone come and drive it anywhere. Assuming the vehicle was registered and insured, the police would have greater discretion about impounding it.

As to the search, if the defendant wants to fight the case and take it to trial, the defense would be entitled to move for a pre-trial suppression hearing to challenge the scope of the inventory search and any other 4th Amendment issues the discovery brings to light.

The Supreme Court has said that all search and seizure issues must be determined on a case-by case basis at these hearings because what's Constitutional and what is not varies with the facts and circumstances of each situation. The standard the judge must use to determine whether the police overstepped their authority has also been set by the US Supreme Court and it is what is reasonable for an officer to have done under the circumstances.

That pre-trial suppression hearing is the only procedure to get evidence wrongfully obtained excluded from trial.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
If there is a grand jury indictment .. how do I go about getting a pretrial hearing???

If this case is a felony, you need to retain a lawyer.Now that the case is indicted, motions can be filed and discovery should be turned over to the defense. The motions would ask for the hearing which would be granted. Typically the hearings don't happen until at the end of the case, right before jury selection, although obviously if the hearing is won and the evidence suppressed, the case would be dismissed after the hearing if the only charges are the drug charges.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
They are basically trying to scare me into a no contest plea... But I have the police report from the arresting officer and he has lied terribly thru the entire report ... and I have seen the dash cam ... and he clearly does not do an inventory ... and allows to many people to gain access to my vehicle ... tow truck driver ... 2 other officers on separate occasions ... plus he comes back to his patrol car to retrieve items from his car and goes back to mine ... THEN he finds something .... What chance do you feel that I could get the jury to see there is reasonable doubt??

That's the age-old dilemma of criminal cases. The best offers are upfront before the prosecutor has to do any heavy work on the case. Once he has to prepare the case fully for trial and engage in the writing of motions and amassing the discovery, he will be less generous.

Nobody's going to make you take a plea if you are not guilty of this crime. Your lawyer will have to tell you what's most problematic about the evidence and where your toughest problems will be both at the hearing and if you lose the hearing. He will also have to tell you what your maximum risk will be if you're convicted after trial. Then it's your choice.

Without my seeing the police reports and the rest of the discovery, doing my own investigations and conferring with the prosecutor, I can't give you an accurate idea of what your trial odds are.

I can tell you, however, that suppression hearings are very difficult to win. Can they be won? Sometimes, yes, of course. But judges give a lot of deference to the judgment calls of police who are out on the field in the line of duty and far more often than not tend to find their actions reasonable. So in many instances, these hearings are valuable not for suppression but for letting the defense attorney know in advance what the police officer will say on the stand and lock him into that testimony.

As to reasonable doubt, it will all come down to how credibly the arresting officer testifies on the stand and the skills of your attorney. Drug possession cases can be won, but no case is a slam-dunk for either side.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I'm soooo torn on what to do ... I did not do anything wrong ... I own a trash service business and have come across sooooo much stuff .. I feel that something was possibly planted ... due to the county I live in trying to sue us unsuccessfully for over a year .. won in court 3 times already ... or I picked up something that was in a bag that was located in my vehicle.... I DON'T want to plea to something I have not done ... but I also don't want to go to jail .. by loosing ... I live in a small town ... and this has totally up heaved my business and reputation in this community ... I was even advised today that our house was under investigation ... They believe that we are taking prescriptions out of the trash and selling them ... ???? ... I have NO IDEA where or WHO this could be coming from ... but since this incident ... the sherrif officers that used to come by and purchase things from us that we have retrieved from the "trash" have no longer been stopping ...I don't know what to do .... Thank you for you time.... I thought I had this in the bag ... but NOPE... crazy.

I uderstand your problem. It's the one faced by every criminal defendant, and there's not much I can say. A necessary decision between two negative options is the most difficult kind of problem that a human being can face. It is not helped by the fact that the prosecutor wants a quick answer and the judge wants a quick answer, so your lawyer will also be pressing you for a quick decision.

You just have to ask yourself which way you'll find it easiest to live with yourself, no matter what is the consequences.

In the end, you have to decide what your head and heart tell you is in your best interest. I wish you the best luck with this. It requires a long long talk with your lawyer about the merits and flaws in your case.

Zoey, JD
Zoey, JD, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 31,444
Experience: Active member of the NYS bar since 1989
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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Thank you ....
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