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Hodnett v. Commonwealth - 32 Va. App. 684, 530 S.E.2d 433 (2000)

Rule:

Whether a seizure is unreasonable is determined by balancing the individual's right to be free from arbitrary government intrusions against society's countervailing interest in preventing or detecting crime and in protecting its law enforcement officers.

Facts:

Appellant was convicted of violating Va. Code Ann. § 46.2-357(B) in connection with his operation of a motor vehicle. His arrest resulted from a driving records check performed by the arresting officer once the officer developed a suspicion that appellant had been driving without a license. The officer's suspicion was founded upon the fact that appellant produced a state identification card rather than a driver's license when asked for identification. The trial court rejected appellant's argument that the added detention constituted a seizure and denied his motion to suppress. Appellant sought review of the trial court's disposition of his motion; he also argued that the evidence was not sufficient to sustain his conviction.

Issue:

Was the appellant’s conviction sustained by evidence?

Answer:

Yes.

Conclusion:

The Court affirmed appellant's conviction, determining that the arresting officer had properly detained him past the initial stop. Specifically, the Court held that the appellant's presentation of an identification card rather than a driver's license triggered the officer's reasonable suspicion that appellant was engaged in the criminal behavior of driving without a license.

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