What can a cop search in my car if they smell marijuanna?

I was at a toll booth.The cop told me to pull over because my tints are to dark. The minute I pulled over they walked to my car and said it smelled like marijuanna and told everyone to get out. They then searched my whole car . Is that legal if we didn’t do anything wrong?

Asked on April 16, 2016 under Criminal Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, it is legal if they did in fact smell marijuana (i.e. if they didn't make it up). A police officer may search without a warrant if there is reason to reasonably believe that a crime is being committed or contraband is present--that would give him/her "probable cause." Smelling mariuana is cause to think that an illegal drug is there, and that one or more crimes (possession and use of an illegal drug; driving under the influence) is being committed.

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