If I got pulled over for not stopping at a stop sign and the police then claimed to have smelled marijuana in my car, was if legal for them to have searched it?

Asked on July 14, 2015 under Criminal Law, California


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Due to the mobility of cars, trucks, etc., time does not permit a warrant to be obtained in order to search them. However, the police must have probable cause to believe that contraband is concealed somewhere in a vehicle in order to conduct a legal search.

So simply being stopped for a simple traffic offense such as running a stop sign does not allow the police to search your car. However, if an officer smells marijuana as he approaches the car, he may have reasonable suspicion to search.

At this poiint, you should consult directly with a criminal law attorney as to your situation. They can best advise you further.

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