Road law
Not your average traffic stop

By Jeff McConnell and James Mennella, attorneys at law

In this issue we take a look at a strange case involving a search warrant for alleged transportation of marijuana, an arrest for false logbook charges, and dismissal of the case for lack of "clear" evidence. At the end of the day, this case leaves one with an uneasy feeling.

I was recently arrested for false logbook entries because of receipts not matching. I think the officer was not familiar with time zones. Can you help me with this case?

Yes. You will need to enter a not guilty plea and have your case set for trial. In the meantime, there may be an opportunity to resolve the case with the prosecutor before trial depending on the facts of your case. You’ll need to provide your attorney with all of the information you have regarding this matter so he or she can prepare your best defense.

That’s not the end of this case

That’s the beginning and end of where this case could have been your average "routine" traffic stop or inspection that resulted in a citation being issued. However, there was a lot more to this truck driver’s story.

While there are many unanswered questions in this case, the case in a nutshell boils down to these basics.

A warrant was issued to place a GPS tracking device on the vehicle because it was believed to be involved in the transportation of marijuana.

The vehicle was more than 110 miles from the location where the warrant was issued and traveling out of the state.

Whatever agency was monitoring the tracking device could tell that the vehicle was going to leave the state at some point and needed the GPS retrieved from the vehicle.

The driver was pulled over for a non-violation and was subsequently arrested for evidence found in his cab.

The K-9 unit that was dispatched was unable to get a "hit" on the vehicle, but since the driver was arrested, they were able to search the vehicle regardless. No drugs were found.

Trial results

The officer testified that after the stop he had smelled the faint odor of raw marijuana upon approaching the vehicle, but denied he was instructed to find the vehicle to remove the GPS device as the reason for the stop.

During the stop, the officer chose to take pictures of the receipts and logs in question for the "false" record-of-duty-status charges, rather than keep the originals for evidence. He further testified that he had put the originals back in the truck before it was impounded and towed away.

Interestingly, the officer failed to review the "unreadable" pictures the prosecutor submitted into evidence, and no other documents were available at the time of trial for the prosecutor to prove that any laws were broken by the defendant.

Not guilty.

Sometimes you don’t have all of the answers to the questions and you certainly don’t always know the outcome of your case, unless you plead not guilty from the start. LL

Send any questions or comments regarding transportation law to: Jeff McConnell and James Mennella, Road Law, 3441 W. Memorial, Suite 4, Oklahoma City, OK 73134; call 405-242-2030, fax 888-588-8983, or email roadlaw@att.net.

This column is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Land Line Magazine or its publisher. Please remember everyone's legal situation is different. Consult with an attorney for specific advice on your situation.