THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE CITY OF HAMPTON Christopher W.
Hutton, Judge 
W. Anderson, II, Assistant Public Defender, for appellant.
Virginia B. Theisen, Senior Assistant Attorney General (Mark
R. Herring, Attorney General, on brief), for appellee.
Present: Judges Humphreys, Huff and At Lee Argued at Norfolk,
RICHARD Y. ATLEE, JR. JUDGE
Cherron Jones appeals his conviction of possession of cocaine
in violation of Code § 18.2-250. On appeal, he argues
that the trial court erred by denying his motion to suppress
because the traffic stop leading to his arrest was
"conducted without any reasonable suspicion of criminal
activity or any violation of traffic laws." We agree.
Brown of the Hampton City Police Department observed Jones
driving a car in Hampton. As Jones approached an
intersection, he activated his turn signal and changed lanes,
crossing over a single, solid white line immediately before
the intersection. The officer turned on his lights and
initiated a traffic stop. A camera in the police car recorded
Jones' lane change.
the officer approached the car, he observed marijuana in
plain view inside the car. He then searched Jones and
discovered cocaine in Jones' pocket. Jones was indicted
for possession of cocaine.
his trial, Jones moved to suppress the cocaine, arguing that
crossing the single, solid white line immediately before the
intersection was not a violation of the law and thus the
initial traffic stop was not legal under the Fourth
Amendment. Because the lane change did not violate the law,
Jones argued that the officer did not have reasonable
suspicion to stop him, and therefore, the traffic stop
violated the Fourth Amendment and the evidence should be
trial court held a hearing on the motion. The officer who
pulled Jones over, Officer Brown, was a twelve-year veteran
of the police force. He testified that, because of his
training, he believed that crossing a single, solid white
line immediately before an intersection was a traffic
violation. The Commonwealth acknowledged that it was not, but
it argued that the mistake was a reasonable mistake of law
under Heien v. North Carolina, 574 U.S. 54 (2014),
and that suppression was not required.
trial court found that "it's pretty clear that
[crossing the solid white line] is not a violation."
Nonetheless, the trial court determined that the issue was
whether the exclusionary rule applied. It concluded that,
under the existing Supreme Court case law, it did not.
Therefore, the trial court denied the motion to suppress.
trial court held a second hearing after Jones filed a motion
to reconsider. Jones argued in his motion that under
Heien v. North Carolina, the question is whether the
mistake of law was reasonable and submitted that the
officer's mistake here was not because there was no
statutory ambiguity that would justify such a mistake. The
trial court ruled that it would not change its mind or
revisit its original ruling.
then entered a conditional guilty plea, which allowed him to
appeal the denial of the motion to suppress. The trial court
sentenced Jones to a term of five years with ...