Brief Fact Summary.
Ryan was pulled over by an officer for a traffic violation. Ryan was subsequently searched, and the officer found marijuana in a bag that was on his person. The State arrested Ryan and sought forfeiture of his vehicle.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
When a vehicle is merely incidental to the defendant’s arrest, the vehicle must not be forfeited.
Edmund Ryan was stopped by a police officer because his vehicle was missing a rear license plate. While conducting the traffic stop, the officer discovered marijuana in a duffel bag seized on Ryan’s person. The State brought drug charges against Ryan and sought to forfeit his vehicle. The trial court found the forfeiture statute, Cannabis Control Act, to be inapplicable, and the State appealed.
Whether the trial court erred in holding the Cannabis Control Act was inapplicable to Ryan’s offense when the marijuana was seized on his person while he was in the vehicle.
No, the trial court properly held the Cannabis Control Act was inapplicable because the proximity to the vehicle was merely incidental and Ryan did not have an intent to sell the marijuana.
Requiring the forfeiture of property used to commit federal narcotics violations encourages property owners to take care in managing their property and ensures that they will not permit that property to be used for illegal purposes.View Full Point of Law
Ryan’s truck was not used to facilitate his possession of cannabis. Instead, the marijuana was found on his person, in the duffel bag he had on him. Likewise, the fact that Ryan was in his truck is merely incidental to the stop, as he was commuting after he got out of work.