Can police pull you over without probable cause, search and seize items inside your car and then use that incident to raid your home?

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Can police pull you over without probable cause, search and seize items inside your car and then use that incident to raid your home?

My girlfriend was pulled over for “speeding” (without a radar/laser) by unmarked police car. She gotsearched and was found in possession of a few grams of marijuana in 2 containers. The police then proceeded to raid her home where more marijuana was found. Then 3 hours after the search they handed her a warrant using the information that drugs were found in traffic stop. The police did not issue a speeding citation; if they used the info of drugs found in the search of car for the warrant would this be “fruit of the poisonous tree”? Should she speak with a criminal law attoreny? In Los Angeles County, CA.

Asked on June 23, 2011 under Criminal Law, California

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Yes, she should consult with an attorney in your area as soon as she possibly can.  Search and seizure laws vary from state to state.  The laws intertwine with privacy laws and are often cited together in cases.  My initial reaction to the different issues in the question here are as follows:  the traffic stop could well be held as valid.  A police officer can use his judgement as to the speed of a vehicle as they are presumably trained as such.  As for the search, more facts need to be given.  Did they smell pot in the car when she rolled down the windows or got out, did they see bags of pot on or under the seats?  These in plain sight matters could lead to the search of the vehicle and your girlfriend.  The house, however, is a different story and the search to me is suspect given the facts here.  Get help.  Good luck. 


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