People v. Paynter

In People v. Paynter, 955 P.2d 68 (Colo. 1998), the officer approached a parked vehicle late at night, shining his spotlight on the vehicle for illumination. The officer did not turn on his vehicle's overhead lights before approaching the vehicle. After approaching the parked vehicle, the officer requested the identification of the occupants, asked what they were doing, and then checked whether they had outstanding warrants. The officer discovered that the passenger had an outstanding felony warrant. The passenger was then arrested and searched. During the search the police discovered marijuana on him. The court held that the officer's contact with the defendant was a consensual interview, and thus the marijuana was admissible because: (1) the officer approached the vehicle without his weapon drawn, (2) he did not turn on the overhead lights or siren on his patrol car, (3) he asked for the defendant's identification in a non-coercive manner, and (4) the elapsed time between the officer's request for identification and the defendant's arrest was approximately five minutes. People v. Paynter, supra.