Vehicle Stops Involving The Odor Of Marijuana

Recently, law enforcement in Denton arrested a woman on drug charges after law enforcement smelled marijuana coming from the woman’s parked motor vehicle. During a routine patrol, law enforcement approached two individuals who were located inside the vehicle in question. As law enforcement approached the vehicle, one of the individuals attempted to exit the vehicle and walk away from the location. Law enforcement proceeded to search the motor vehicle and found some marijuana, an anti-anxiety pill, and synthetic marijuana. Law enforcement released one of the individuals but charged the other with possession of a controlled substance and possession of marijuana.

The Role of Probable Cause

The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution states that except for limited circumstances, law enforcement must have a sufficient amount of evidence to perform a search or make an arrest. This amount of evidence is called probable cause and frequently requires law enforcement to possess a reasonable belief that the individual in question committed a crime, and that the location to be searched contains evidence of the crime. Law enforcement in Denton and the rest of the state of Texas is permitted to search an individual’s vehicle if law enforcement detects the odor of marijuana. In the event that law enforcement finds marijuana in an individual’s car, there is a possibility that the individual will end up facing drug charges.

Probable Cause

In addition to the odor of marijuana, there are many other potential types of ways that law enforcement can determine probable cause exists and that an individual’s motor vehicle can be searched. Some other examples of probable cause include:

  • Admissions by the motor vehicle driver or a passenger that there is marijuana in the vehicle.
  • Marijuana is in plain view inside the motor vehicle.
  • Motor vehicle operators acting suspicious.
  • Movements by motor vehicle drivers as law enforcement approaches the vehicle.

Potential Consequences

Texas takes marijuana charges seriously. Even if an individual is determined to be in possession of just a small amount of marijuana, an individual could likely end up facing significant penalties. In many cases involving vehicles and marijuana, individuals are charged with a Class B misdemeanor that can result in up to 180 days in jail and a fine of $2,000. In addition to these penalties, many individuals are sentenced to drug treatment or community service while also losing their driver’s license for six months.

Defending Against a Marijuana Charge

There are numerous ways that talented legal representation can help an individual defend against a marijuana in a vehicle charge. Even if a successful defense cannot be raised, a skilled attorney is often able to keep details off of an individual’s record.

If you face any type of charge arising from the use of marijuana in a motor vehicle, skilled legal counsel can make all the difference in the outcome of your case. Do not hesitate to contact Wheeler Law Office today if you find yourself in such a situation.

(image courtesy of THOR)