What to do about a search for which there was no consent?

UPDATED: Dec 2, 2013

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What to do about a search for which there was no consent?

My friend was pulled over for an unspecified reason while out with some friends. The police officer said that the car smelled of marijuana and for them to get out of the car. He then asked my friend to hand over any marijuana that he had, which my friend did. The officer then cuffed him and put him in the car and searched the it without asking. Is there any solid defense to get this overturned?

Asked on December 2, 2013 under Criminal Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Generally, once someone has been arrested in a car, the police may do a brief search of the vehicle to see if there is any evidence or dangerous contraband which might be lost, stolen, taken, etc. when the vehicle is impounded or driven away by another. Furthermore, police can often search without a warrant when they can plainly detect with their senses criminal activity--such as smelling marijuana. From what you write, it is likely that the search and its results will stand.

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