Centre County Drug Charge - Search of Client After Public Urination in Downtown State College

Suppression of Evidence, Dismissal of Charges, Expungement in State College Marijuana Possession Case

The client was walking in downtown State College when he stopped to urinate in an alley. A State College police officer approached the client to investigate. The officer requested identification, but the client did not have his license on his person. The State College officer then subjected the client to a pat-down search. During the pat-down search, the officer felt something in the client's front pocket, and the officer pulled the item from the pocket and discovered that it was marijuana. Charges of Disorderly Conduct and Possession of a Small Amount of Marijuana were filed before a State College judge.

State College Marijuana Possession Lawyer

The client was represented by experienced State College criminal defense attorney Jason S. Dunkle during the pre-trial phase of the case. The drug defense lawyer filed a pre-trial motion to suppress the drug evidence and argued that the warrantless search of the client violated the client's constitutional rights. More specifically, the drug defense lawyer argued that the pat-down search was unconstitutional as the State College officer did not have reason to believe that the client was "armed and dangerous," and the officer did not have probable cause to retrieve the items from the client's pocket under the "plain feel" exception to the warrant requirement. The district attorney argued that the client had been arrested for public urination on the State College street, so the officer was permitted to conduct a warrantless search of the client as a search incident to arrest. The Centre County judge rejected the district attorney's argument and instead agreed with the criminal defense lawyer that the search had violated the client's constitutional rights. The judge ordered the suppression of the drug evidence. Since the drug evidence had been suppressed, the Centre County District Attorney's Office dismissed the charge of Possession of a Small Amount of Marijuana. Criminal defense lawyer Jason S. Dunkle filed an expungement petition to have the charge expunged from the client's criminal record.