Benton County man Timothy Vanderpool has had more than a dozen run-ins with the law, but he might have dodged his most recent meth possession conviction if he'd had a drivers license.
In March 2007, a cop saw Vanderpool driving a Blue Ford Explorer in in the area. A license check showed the car was registered to a woman. Since the driver did not appear to be female, the cop stopped Vanderpool and asked if he was the woman's husband. Vanderpool was forthcoming about the fact that he was not related to the woman, though had the car with permission. Looking to confirm Vanderpool's identity, the cop asked for a driver's license, which he did not have.
Because it's illegal to drive without a license, Vanderpool was put under arrest and the car was searched, turning up meth. Vanderpool was charged with meth possession. He asked a Benton County Superior Court judge to suppress evidence found in the search of the car, which he says was illegal. (Getting that evidence suppressed would have pretty much ended the case.) But the judge said no dice so Vanderpool took it to the Court of Appeals.
Yesterday the court ruled that while it is illegal to search a car without cause, doing anything illegal related to driving is cause enough for a cop to dig around. Vanderpool's case was sent back for trial, and if convicted, sentencing.
So if you want to drive around with contraband in your glovebox, make sure your drivers license is up to date.