Is the smell of marijuana probable cause for police to search your car?
What can an officer do if he says he smells marijuana in my car?
Unfornatelly in Texas the law says that if an officer can articulate that he smells the owner of either fresh marijuana or burning marijuana, that's just improbable cause to blame that you may had it in your possesion or in your vehicle. So he has the right to search not only your vehicle but also to do a pat down on you.
Your protected from a more intensive search on your body, but if he can articulate that he has the smell of drugs or alcohol, he can do one of two things. He can search you and your vehicle or he wouldnt have a problem in detaining you and getting a warrant if he has to.
That's not something that probably gonna happen cause it would take too much time. In Texas, what they do a lot is they'll bring over a drug dog and they use the drug dog on you and your vehicle as well. But he does have the right to search for what he smells.
Now why i disagree with that in principle is because, let's just say hipothetically we have a police officer that stops 10 people in a lower social economic neighbourhood on a friday night. He says he smells the odor of either herb or fresh marijuana on all ten, he checks all ten searches and he finds mariujana on one. We only get one police report, and that one police report will reflect that he not only smells but he found it and made an arrest. So this officer is batting 1000% basically. He's one for one because we don't know about the other nine. He's just saying that he smelled on every stop to allow the search.
As an officer of the court, I have to tell people not to posses drugs or any illegal contraband. But i can tell you this, if police officers were using the issue of the scent or that i smell the odor than probably the way to attack that kind of approach is to try to lessen his ability to smell the odor. A lot of people use deodorant or air freshners or the pine tree fresheners, and police officers will even use that as probable cause to say you are trying to cover up the odor.
The most important thing is you shoulnd't ever put anything in your vehicle that is illegal if you can smell it. I cannot come out and tell someone that they need to use the type of cointainer that allows the odors to escape. But I have heard of attoneys at other states who have brought these things to court, and tryed to get a officer to smell them to see if he really has that magic. That argument has made sucess out of state, but i dont know if that can fly in a Texas courtroom.
As an attorney i cant bring in some mariujana in an air tight container, because then I will be possessing and illegal substance, but there are ways to attack the sensory abilities of a police officer to smell marijuana.
But you shouldn't be silly and be driving around in your vehicle where it smell like you've been hanging out with Cheech and Chong. You've got to have more common sence than that.
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