Vermont cell phone ban nets Vermont law enforcement its first arrest

Arrest number one is in the books.

Two days after the implementation of the new hand held device ban on drivers, Vermont police arrested an individual on drug possession charge after a police officer alleged to have seen the man talking on his cellphone.

The Burlington Free Press reports that this arrest was the first in Vermont that was triggered by the new law.  The man not only faces a fine for his cell phone traffic ticket, but is also facing felony marijuana charges after police claim to have located over two ounces of the drug in his vehicle.

The officer was reportedly tipped off of the drug’s presence after he approached the vehicle and have smelled marijuana in the vehicle.  When the operator refused to consent to a search, the police towed the vehicle and searched it after a warrant was approved by a local judge.

This law will likely be an expansive battle field for prosecutors and defense attorneys in the coming years.  Allowing an officer to pull someone over merely because they claim to see someone using their phone, will likely cause numerous challenges to the circumstances of the officer’s visual contact with the motorist.  Although the facts will vary widely in each case, after enough cases have been ruled on, a precedent for the validity of this law will maneuver its way through the Vermont judicial system.

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