Re: Poss. of Cds in Motor Vehicle Validity for Parked Cars /// Legality of Traffic St
Well…maybe. A person can “operate a motor vehicle” without having the car actually in motion. Were you in the driver’s seat, having full access to the operation controls of the vehicle? Were the ignition keys in your possession or actually in the ignition?
The second element would be was the parking lot a “highway” as defined by statute? If it is a publicly maintained park, it is quite possible that it meets the definition. Even beyond that, it is possible that the officer saw the vehicle enter the parking lot from the street?
Again, the answer is maybe. In order to give a definitive answer, I would need to know what the cop knew at the time and what he/she could reasonably conclude based on his/her training and prior experience with that area. It is quite possible that, based on this being a frequent area for illegal substance use or other criminal activity, along with some other observable behavior, that the officer had reasonable suspicion sufficient to warrant detaining you while investigating. This is commonly referred to as a “Terry” stop.
However, are there perhaps posted signs saying that the park is closed during certain hours? If you were in the park during the time it is closed to the public, that is all the cop would need to stop and detain you. If that contact then led to any reasonable suspicion of weed (like, for example, the very distinctive odor that potheads never think anyone else can smell?), then he/she could extend the detention to investigate that as well.
The bottom line is that these are both questions that you will need to discuss with your attorney. Without access to the cop’s statement and further information about the specific location, nobody can give you a definitive answer to either question.
Behind the badge is a person. Behind the person is an ego. This is as it should be, person at the center and ego to the back.