I recently won a suppression hearing for a defendant charged with possessing marijuana and a controlled substance. The facts were interesting but not uncommon. Driver stopped for driving “in the back of the Goodwill parking lot after the store was closed. The reason for the stop…lots of recent thefts at Goodwill.

On direct examination the main officer said he thought the defendant might be stealing something from Goodwill but only saw him driving away, not actually committing a crime.

When I got my turn on cross-examination I asked if any criminal activity at all was observed. The officer said no, but then stated my client’s story didn’t make sense.

However the only thing that mattered here was what the officer observed BEFORE he turned his lights on, which in this case was nothing more than a man driving in a parking lot.

Remember, when the red and blue lights come on you are detained. To detain you the officers must have reasonable suspicion. In this case the judge agreed they did not, and the prosecutor had to dismiss the charge.