State v. Drake, 15334

CourtSupreme Court of West Virginia
Citation291 S.E.2d 484,170 W.Va. 169
Decision Date18 May 1982
Docket NumberNo. 15334,15334
PartiesSTATE of West Virginia v. Kerry R. DRAKE.

Page 484

291 S.E.2d 484
170 W.Va. 169
STATE of West Virginia
Kerry R. DRAKE.
No. 15334.
Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia.
May 18, 1982.

Page 485

[170 W.Va. 170] Syllabus by the Court

1. "Probable cause to make an arrest without a warrant exists when the facts and circumstances within the knowledge of the arresting officer are sufficient to warrant a prudent man in believing that an offense has been committed." Syllabus Point 7 State v. Craft, 165 W.Va. 741, 272 S.E.2d 46 (1980).

2. "An officer, with authority to conserve the peace, may, without a warrant, arrest any person who he, upon probable cause, believes has committed or is committing a felony, though it afterwards appears that no felony was actually perpetrated." Syllabus Point 2 State v. Duvernoy, 156 W.Va. 578, 195 S.E.2d 631 (1973).

3. "A warrantless search of the person and the immediate geographic area under his physical control is authorized as an incident to a valid arrest." Syllabus Point 6 State v. Moore, 165 W.Va. 837, 272 S.E.2d 804 (1980).

4. Most courts have held that possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance can be proven by establishing a number of circumstances among which are the quantity of the controlled substance possessed and the presence of other paraphernalia customarily used in the packaging and delivery of controlled substances.

5. "The question of whether a person possesses a controlled substance with intent to manufacture or deliver is a jury question to be determined like other questions of intent from all the surrounding facts and circumstances, and as such intent is a basic element of the offense, it must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt." Syllabus Point 3 State v. Frisby, 161 W.Va. 734, 245 S.E.2d 622, 624 (1978).

Henderson & Redd and Herbert H. Henderson, Huntington, for appellant.

Chauncey H. Browning, Atty. Gen. and Dana D. Davis, Asst. Atty. Gen., Charleston, for appellee.

MILLER, Chief Justice:

In this criminal appeal from the Circuit Court of Logan County, we are asked to consider the validity of the defendant's conviction of possession of a controlled substance with the intent to deliver. The defendant, Kerry R. Drake, contends that his arrest was unlawful because it was not based upon probable cause and, therefore, the search of his person was illegal. The defendant additionally asserts that his rights were violated when he was interrogated prior to the search and arrest. For the reasons more fully set out below we decline to reverse his conviction.

In the early morning hours of December 7, 1980, the defendant was a passenger in an automobile which was traveling north on State Route 10 in the town of West Logan. The vehicle was being driven by Cheryl Randolph and the defendant was seated in

Page 486

the front passenger seat. Two other passengers, Pat Nedim and Tony Smoot, were located in the back seat of the vehicle. As the automobile was traveling through West Logan at a speed of approximately[170 W.Va. 171] 50 miles an hour, its Police Chief Sparky Dingess and Patrolman Larry Queen stopped the vehicle for exceeding the speed limit of 35 miles per hour. The vehicle was pulled over into the parking lot of the Mathis Motel which is a well-lighted area.

Officer Queen asked the driver for her operator's license and registration card. She informed him that her registration card was in the glove compartment and asked the defendant to obtain the card. As the defendant reached into the glove compartment, Officer Queen for safety reasons shined his flashlight inside the car. He noticed an open beer bottle between the defendant's legs.

Officer Queen then asked the defendant to get out of the car. He observed the defendant's physical condition to be unstable and his reactions slow, and asked the defendant if he had been drinking. The defendant answered that he had a few beers. Officer Queen additionally noted that the defendant's eyes were blurred and his speech slurred. The officer then arrested the defendant for public intoxication 1 and searched him. Officer Queen had previously removed the open bottle of beer and a torn paper bag containing an empty beer carton and empty beer bottles from the right front floorboard of the car.

The search of the defendant's person revealed four bags of marijuana which combined to a total of 90 grams, a set of scales and eight empty plastic bags. At this time the defendant was placed under arrest for possession of marijuana with intent to deliver.

The defendant was indicted by the January 1981 term of the Logan County Grand Jury and charged with possession of marijuana with intent to unlawfully and feloniously sell, distribute and transfer to some person other than himself. 2 The defendant was found guilty of the charge and sentenced to a one to five year prison term.

The trial court refused to set aside the verdict and grant the defendant a new trial. The defendant was granted a stay of execution to pursue this appeal.


The defendant argues that there was no probable cause for his arrest and that it was a pretext arrest under State v. Thomas, 157 W.Va. 640, 203 S.E.2d 445 (1974). We disagree and conclude that the trial court was correct in finding probable cause. The car was validly stopped on a speeding charge. The officer observed an open beer bottle between the defendant's legs and also a bag containing empty beer bottles. The open beer bottle violated the town's open alcoholic bottle ordinance and while it is true that the defendant was not ultimately arrested under this ordinance, this violation...

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21 cases
  • State v. Zaccagnini, 15726
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • September 29, 1983
    ...intent to deliver is largely a factual question and conviction may be sustained under a variety of different facts. State v. Drake, 170 W.Va. 169, 291 S.E.2d 484 (1982). Furthermore, possession with intentt to deliver because of its graduated penalties differs from simple possession, which ......
  • State v. Cook, 16183
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • July 15, 1985
    ...felony was actually perpetrated." Syl. pt. 2, State v. Duvernoy, 156 W.Va. 578, 195 S.E.2d 631 (1973); see also Syl. pt. 2, State v. Drake, 170 W.Va. 169, 291 S.E.2d 484 (1982); Syl. pt. 1, State v. Sprouse, 171 W.Va. 58, 297 S.E.2d 833 (1982); Syl. pt. 6, State v. Craft, 165 W.Va. 741, 272......
  • State v. Choat
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • November 18, 1987
    ...... In State v. Drake, 170 W.Va. 169, 171, 291 S.E.2d 484, 486 (1982), we determined that an open beer bottle in an automobile, in violation of a municipality's open ......
  • State v. Julius, 19836
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • July 3, 1991
    ......         See also State v. Hodges, 172 W.Va. 322, 305 S.E.2d 278 (1983); State v. Drake, 170 W.Va. 169, 291 S.E.2d 484 (1982). .         Nearly a decade later, the United States Supreme Court extended the boundaries of Chimel by ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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