Officer’s request for name in a parking lot not a seizure, but contact in public place

State v. Vanderpool, Court of Appeals, Division III, Docket No. 26402-5, decided June 10, 2008

Police officer performed random check of vehicle’s license observed driving in a parking lot, licensing records indicated that registered owner’s husband’s license was suspended. Police officer thought the driver was registered owner’s husband. The driver parked the vehicle, the police officer pulled behind the parked car, and asked the driver if he was the registered owner’s husband. He said he was not and gave his correct name, Mr. Vanderpool, and provided his ID. He told the officer that he didn’t have a driver’s license. Records showed that Mr. Vanderpool’s driver’s license was suspended. The police officer arrested Mr. Vanderpool and found methamphetamine search incident to the arrest.

The Court of Appeals, Division III, held that the police officer’s request for Mr. Vanderpool’s name/identification was not a seizure, but was a contact in a public place. Mr. Vanderpool volunteered that he didn’t have a driver’s license. The Court held that the police officer had probable cause to arrest him for driving with a suspended license and had lawful authority to search him incident to arrest and find the drugs.