As a Peace Officer, I have placed sally under arrest for Driving Under the Influence, Official Code of Georgia (O.C.G.A.) 40-6-391 based upon indicators that led me to believe that she was a less safe driver. I have also charged her for Underage Consumption of an Alcoholic Beverage as the legal drinking age in Georgia is 21. I then conducted a search incident to arrest of Sally. As a Peace Officer, I have the right to search her to protect myself against assault and to secure evidence that could be destroyed by the suspect. In the course of this search, the items mentioned were found, and I usually ask the suspects if the things are theirs. In this scenario, I would have asked Sally who “Judy O’Heary” was and if she is related to her. And the same for the Handgun. In Georgia, it is not illegal for a person 18 to 20 years to legally possess a handgun; they just cannot carry one on their person as they are ineligible to obtain a Carry Permit until they attain the age of 21. There is no requirement to register a weapon in this state. When she stated, “I need those pills because of my back pain. And, I have no idea where that gun came from” this would have raised the suspicions of reasonable Peace Officer drastically. It would have been perfectly OK to ask her why she needed more than “350” tablets of painkillers, and her subsequent statement would have furthered that suspicion. Now, assuming that the painkillers were a Schedule II, which is a Felony, she would have been charged with Possessing a Schedule II Drug (O.C.G.A. 16-13-26).
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