Can a police officer search my vehicle without consent?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can a police officer search my vehicle without consent?

I was pulled over a couple weeks ago and was told that there was a light scent of marijuana coming from my

vehicle so the officer asked me to get out and placed me in the back of his squad car for my safety because he was bringing in a canine. After the dog not giving them any reason to say that there was anything in the vehicle they proceeded to search themselves and still found nothing. I feel that this maybe kind of violating my rights a little bit but not entirely sure.

Asked on January 4, 2019 under General Practice, Minnesota


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

IF the officer was not lying about the scent of marijuana, it was legal: police may search without consent or a warrant when there is evidence of a criminal act going on *at the moment* and awaiting consent or a warrant could allow evidence to be destroyed. So the issue is whether the officers were lying or whether the claim they smelled pot was just a pretext.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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