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Washington v. Quintero-Quintero

April 18, 1991

THE STATE OF WASHINGTON, RESPONDENT
v.
PEDRO QUINTERO-QUINTERO, APPELLANT



Green, C.j. Munson and Shields, JJ., concur.

Author: Green

Pedro Quintero-Quintero was charged and convicted of possession of cocaine. He appeals, contending (1) the court erred in denying his motion to suppress the cocaine, and (2) there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction. We affirm.

The relevant facts are summarized in the undisputed findings of fact entered by the trial court following a CrR 3.6 hearing:

On January 6, 1989 at approximately 4:45 in the afternoon, Sgt. Crist of the Wenatchee Police Department observed a blue Chevrolet Camaro driving in the vicinity of Okanogan Street in Wenatchee, Chelan County. He immediately recognized the vehicle and license plate, as well as the driver as an individual who had been stopped approximately 2-1/2 weeks earlier and placed under arrest for Driving While Suspended as an habitual traffic offender. On the previous arrest, Sgt. Crist had personally inquired as [to] the defendant's driving status. As Sgt. Crist proceeded to follow this vehicle he observed improper [lane] travel in that the driver was observed to lean forward and swerve his vehicle nearly into a parked car. Sgt. Crist continued to follow the vehicle and during this time radioed dispatch to confirm a driver's status. He activated his emergency lights and continued to follow the vehicle which came to a stop in an alley behind [the Quintero-Quintero] residence. As Sgt. Crist contacted the driver he received confirmation from Wenatchee Police Department Dispatch that the defendant's driver's status was still suspended. The defendant was placed under arrest and advised of his constitutional rights. Officer Pippin arrived at the scene and he searched the vehicle passenger compartment and found a straw. Officer Pippin had previous experience and training in the identification of controlled substances and paraphernalia and recognized the straw with white powder on it as being possibly cocaine paraphernalia. Officer Pippin also noticed that a tape in the tape deck was askew and observed a piece of paper sticking out. Officer Pippin then checked inside the tape deck and found a bindle which he opened and observed white powder inside . . . . The defendant was . . . transported to the Chelan County Regional Jail. He was cited for Driving While Suspended, but no citation was issued for the improper lane travel.

After his arrest, Mr. Quintero-Quintero was patted down, but nothing was found.

First, Mr. Quintero-Quintero contends the court erred by denying his motion to suppress and upholding his arrest and the subsequent search of his vehicle incident thereto.

He relies on State v. Stortroen, 53 Wash. App. 654, 769 P.2d 321 (1989). We find no error.

When a driver is stopped for a traffic violation, an arrest may be made if (1) the offense necessitating the stop falls within the enumerated offenses of RCW 10.31.100(3), or (2) the offense does not fall within RCW 10.31.100(3), but the officer has reasonable grounds to believe the driver will not respond to a citation. Cases which review an arrest based upon nonstatutory grounds include the following: State v. Hehman, 90 Wash. 2d 45, 578 P.2d 527 (1978); State v. Barajas, 57 Wash. App. 556, 789 P.2d 321, review denied, 115 Wash. 2d 1006 (1990); State v. Watson, 56 Wash. App. 665, 784 P.2d 1294, review denied, 114 Wash. 2d 1028 (1990); State v. Jordan, 50 Wash. App. 170, 747 P.2d 1096 (1987), review denied, 110 Wash. 2d 1027 (1988); State v. McIntosh, 42 Wash. App. 573, 712 P.2d 319, review denied, 105 Wash. 2d 1015 (1986).

[1] Here, Mr. Quintero-Quintero's arrest was specifically authorized by RCW 46.64.015:

Whenever any person is arrested for any violation of the traffic laws or regulations which is punishable as a misdemeanor . . ., the arresting officer may serve upon him or her a traffic citation and notice to appear in court. . . . The detention arising from an arrest . . . may not be for a period of time longer than is reasonably necessary . . . except . . .:

(2) Where the arresting officer has probable cause to believe that the arrested person has committed any of the offenses ...


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