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UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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Search and seizer

I went to a little park with hiking trails. The hours of operation are from dusk to dawn. I arrived around noon and was in woods for about an hour. When I return to my vehicle a sheriff had searched my vehicle and found small bag of marijuana. Is this legal?

Asked on August 11, 2019 under Criminal Law, Kentucky


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

It would not be legal unless the sheriff 1) had a warrant; 2) the marijuana was in plain view (e.g. on the seat or dashboard) or the smell of marijuana was plainly detectable outside the vehicle, since a perceived crime (e.g. having an illegal drug which the officer himself sees or smells) gives "probable cause" for a warrantless search; or 3) there were signs in the park (as there are in airports) that anyone and/or their vehicles are subject to search at any time, since if there are, by going there despite the signs, you agreed to allow searches.

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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