Police Can’t search Your Car
Possession of marijuana does not give police probable cause to search your car. Due to the mobile nature of automobiles and the fear that evidence of a crime might be easily spirited away, warrantless searches of cars have often been upheld in circumstances in which a search of a home or office would not. In a recent case acknowledging the legality of recreational marijuana in California, the state Court of Appeal held that simply possessing a small amount of marijuana does not give police officers sufficient grounds to search your vehicle. “The recent legalization of marijuana in California means we can now attach a fairly minimal significance to the presence of a legal amount of the drug . . .,” wrote the court.
It is illegal to be under the influence of marijuana and drive. However, if stopped by police and you happen to have a small amount of marijuana on your person, the police do not have the right search the rest of your car. Be polite, decline the invitation to consent to the search and let the officer know that you would like to speak with a lawyer before answering any questions.
The Bruce Law Firm is available to answer questions should you be contacted or suspect you will be contacted by law enforcement. Please call us for a free initial consultation at 415-870-9337.
See People v Lee, California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, Division One. D073740.