Colorado v. SoteloAnnotate this Case
A state trooper pulled over the defendant while she was driving a rental car that she was not authorized to drive. While impounding the car at rental company’s request, the trooper who stopped her discovered three suspicious gift-wrapped packages, one on the back seat and two in trunk. At the tow yard, a K-9 police dog alerted alerted the trooper that the trunk contained drugs. The trooper used this positive dog sniff to obtain a warrant, the execution of which revealed 57 pounds of marijuana. The trial court suppressed this marijuana evidence because the packages had been detained for an unreasonable amount of time before the dog alerted and the trooper thus obtained probable cause to continue the search. The State challenged the suppression, arguing that defendant did not have standing to contest the detention and search of the packages because she was not authorized to drive the rental car. Under the totality of the circumstances, the Supreme Court concluded that defendant had a legitimate expectation of privacy in the packages that were detained. Therefore, she had standing to challenge the search of those packages even though she was not authorized to drive the car. Consequently, the Court affirmed the suppression order.