Would you have known your rights?
Police officers may not hold a Florida driver’s license and demand to search a vehicle. That was the conclusion last month of a three-judge state Court of Appeal panel that ruled the search of Joey Villanueva’s van unconstitutional.
Lakeland Police Officer Bradley Dollison, a rookie, pulled Villanueva over, claiming he blew through a stop sign. The officer opened with the standard request for license and registration. Villanueva’s papers were in order, except a computer check noted that he was on probation. At trial, Officer Dollison admitted that once the check was complete he had completed everything he had to do except write the citation. The officer decided to ask more questions — why was Villanueva on probation? Did he have any weapons or anything illegal in the vehicle?
Villanueva explained that he had a past drug trafficking conviction, and that he was not carrying anything illegal (although he was carrying a small baggy of methamphetamine in his pocket). Officer Dollison ordered Villanueva out of the van and asked for consent to search.
“Go ahead,” Villanueva replied. “I have no choice because I’m on probation.”
In fact, the van driver did not have to consent.
Read more on Newspaper.com.
Thanks to Joe Cadillic for sending this in. I suspect most of us don’t truly know our rights when it comes to such situations.