Smell of Pot Not Enough
Do not get high and drive. Do not drink and drive. But know your rights when you are pulled over.
A recent appellate court decision makes it illegal in California for police, once they have stopped your car, to search the entire vehicle simply because they smell marijuana. In years past, a passenger may have imbibed hours ago with the aroma sinking into their clothes then, after being in your car for awhile, transferred their recent smoking event into your automobile. Once stopped, police officers routinely identified the smell and then searched the entire car based on the smell giving them probable cause to believe a crime had been committed by one of the occupants. You can imagine the private items seized and possible loss of liberty.
Now, since the decriminalization of marijuana, odor is insufficient to justify the search. Your privacy remains protected by the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Please call The Bruce Law Firm should you have any questions. We are here to protect your rights.