After the end of traffic stop, police officer did not inform driver that he was free to leave.

Defendant was driving southbound with a passenger approximately fiftyeight miles from the Mexican border. A trooper stopped Defendant at 1:10 PM because the vehicle’s license plate was under mandatory insurance suspension in violation of the Arizona traffic code. Defendant stated that he and his passenger were coming from Tucson back to Nogales. When the trooper asked the passenger where he was coming from, he responded that he and Defendant were coming from Nogales and then stated that they were coming from Phoenix. At some point, the trooper asked Defendant to accompany him back to the patrol car, while the trooper completed the paperwork. As the trooper handed Defendant a written warning for the insurance violation, he asked Defendant again, and Defendant responded that they were coming from Phoenix. At this point, the traffic stop had lasted five to ten minutes. The trooper did not inform Defendant that he was free to leave, but Defendant turned to walk to his vehicle.

The trooper asked Defendant if he “could have a word with him to ask him a few questions,” and Defendant agreed without hesitation. Defendant consented to a vehicle search and signed a written consent form. The trooper frisked Defendant and the passenger and directed them to stand 200 feet away while he searched the vehicle. The trooper found 10,000 rounds of ammunition in the vehicle. The trooper walked Defendant and the passenger to the police vehicle and handcuffed them behind their backs. At approximately 1:30 PM, the trooper called a federal agent who was tasked to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF), and two ATF agents arrived after fifteen or twenty minutes. Defendant agreed to speak with the ATF agents, who removed the handcuffs.

Full case here: United States v. VICTOR ANTONIO GONZALEZ, Jr.,

Anton Vialtsin, Esq.
LAWSTACHE™ LAW FIRM | Criminal Defense and Business Law
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