Can cops enter your houseif they smell burning marijuana and tell you that it was for a “protective sweep”?

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Can cops enter your houseif they smell burning marijuana and tell you that it was for a “protective sweep”?

Yesterday I had 2 cops come to my house looking for my roommate who has a warrant. As they were asking me where my roommate was, they asked why they smelled “burning dope”. They then started trying to walk through the door as I was shutting it and telling them they couldn’t come in. The cops then proceeded to shove me out of the doorway and enter the house. They said that they had to do a “protective sweep” and looked in all the rooms. They then asked if we wanted to wait for a warrant or if we would let them search. Was this legal?

Asked on December 18, 2011 under Criminal Law, Wyoming

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Well there are quite a few constitutional issues herein but bottom line is the following. If the police had a search or arrest warrant and it included your home, then they had a right to enter to look for him. If they smelled burning marijuana, a) they had a warrant and b) if you gave them permission to enter, then they had full authority to look for your roommate. If they (while looking for him) found marijuana in plain sight burning or somewhere where your roommate could possibly be like in a closet or something large, then they had every right to confiscate (seize the drugs as it is illegal to possess such items) and arrest those in the same area.


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