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Is the smell of marijuana in a vehicle probable cause for a

search in the state of...
Is the smell of marijuana in a vehicle probable cause for a search in the state of Massachusetts?
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4/21/2017
Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
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Experience: Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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Yes it would be. Probable cause is just a reasonable belief that you may have been doing something illegal like smoking marijuana. So they have grounds to search the car, but they would need a warrant or an exception to the warrant requirement, such as your consent.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Ok so the short answer would be no, the smell isn't enough for them to search. Marijuana is legal in Massachusetts

Marijuana is legal in Massachusetts, but there are numerous restrictions on that use. You cannot use marijuana in public, and you cannot use it in a motor vehicle. There is also a maximum amount you can possess.

So, a car that smells like marijuana DOES give an officer probable cause for a search. From there, he either has to get a warrant or he has to have an exception to the warrant requirement in order to do the actual search. If he searches without that, you may be able to get the evidence suppressed after a hearing if you go on to fight your case.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Ok, thanks. What are the chances of them being able to acquire a warrant based off smell alone?

Pretty good in a car, I'd say. And if there's a separate legitimate reason to stop you anyhow, (eg., your license is supended) they can arrest you for that and then search pursuant to an inventory search, which is an exception to the warrant requirement.

I strive for 5 star service. If I have addressed all of your concerns, please take the time to rate my service to you by selecting 3, 4, or (hopefully) 5 stars on the rating scale, as that is the only way that JustAnswer gives us Experts credit for our work. You would still be able to post further follow ups on this question thread about this for no additional cost, even after I've been rated.

Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
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Experience: Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Ok thanks.

You're very welcome!

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