SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) – An arrest by a controversial UHP trooper last year is being challenged in court.
Last year Rick Waller was pulled over for an expired license plate tag.
That got him face to face with UHP Trooper Lisa Steed.
“She approaches the vehicle on my passenger side and right away asks ‘hi how are you doing?’” recalls Waller.
Steed has come under fire for many of her DUI arrests. Some of those arrests were dismissed after her methods were suspect. The Department of Public Safety removed her from the field and is currently assigned a desk job as her superiors are investigating her tactics.
In this latest case, Waller said Steed reached into his car looking around as she asked questions.
“(She) stuck her head into my vehicle, her hand, started looking around without advising me what I was pulled over for,” says Waller.
His attorney claimed police can't get any of their body inside a car because that constitutes a search.
“She tells me she smells alcohol with a smile and asks me to get out of the vehicle,” says Waller.
Steed orders him to take a field sobriety test and according to court documents, Waller failed that and a breathalyzer test showed he was legally drunk.
But like many other arrests Steed's made, her methods are being questioned in Waller’s arrest.
Waller's attorney says this was an unlawful search.
“She stuck her hand and her head inside of the vehicle which is a violation of our 4th amendment constitutional rights,” says Tyler Ayres. “I believe she was trying to find evidence of some sort of criminal activity."
According to prosecutors, Steed did find "marijuana ...in a cigarette wrapper."
That's why Waller was arrested and charged. Now his life's on hold while he waits for a judge to rule if this was a legitimate arrest or if his rights were violated.
“The thing is I don't wish anything bad on Trooper Steed at all,” says Waller. “I just want to get my life back together."
A Second District judge took the matter under advisement and will issue a ruling as to whether the evidence seized should be allowed or dismissed.