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Court upholds Utah man's meth possession conviction

meth possession traffic stop

A Utah appeals court recently upheld a Utah man's methamphetamine possession conviction arising out of a traffic stop. This case shares common themes to many traffic stop cases in which Utah drivers make the mistake of volunteering too much information to investigating authorities.

The case involves a Utah driver who was stopped on SR-77 near Springville after a deputy and his trainee allegedly spotted the man speeding. The officers ran the driver's plates and also determined that his car was uninsured. The officers claimed that the man had watery, bloodshot eyes and rapid speech. The deputies also said that the man appeared agitated, which caused them to believe that the man was impaired.

The legal basis of a Utah traffic stop is highly fact dependant. Many officers will use signs of fatigue or nervousness as indications that a driver is intoxicated, but these are often just signs that a driver is tired or intimidated by being pulled over.

During this particular traffic stop, the driver told police officers that he had not been drinking. Officers allegedly saw small white baggies on the driver's side door compartment as the driver exited the car. The deputies assumed that these were drug paraphernalia. After further questioning the driver allegedly admitted to having meth baggies in his pockets as well, which was a substantial factor in his inability to successfully appeal his convictions.

Source: Utah v. Simons, 2013 WL 285681, Jan. 25, 2013

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