Can The Police Search My Car In Texas If They Just Smell Marijuana?

By Bo Kalabus;
24-hour Jail Release: 214-402-4364

YES! In Texas, the odor of burned marijuana gives the police the probable cause necessary to perform a legal search. The situation usually presents itself during a traffic stop when an officer smells marijuana through the open window while speaking with the driver. The odor of marijuana either fresh or faint is a trigger point for the police to search a vehicle without first obtaining a warrant.

Citizens have much less 4th Amendment protection against an illegal search and seizure when they are in their vehicles. The main rationale is that cars are mobile, and they could flee before an officer can get a warrant from a judge to search the vehicle. Another thought is that since cars are regulated by state laws, and are also on public streets, drivers have a reduced expectation of privacy compared to the privacy in their homes. In short, your vehicle is NOT the same thing as your home and the police can search it much more easily.

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