The smell of marijuana plays an important role in many searches for the drug. This importance was recently highlighted in a case that occurred in the Denton area. Child Protective Services was contacted after a mother left her 3-year-old child inside a vehicle for more than ten minutes. After firefighters opened the car door to rescue the child, law enforcement searched the vehicle based on the smell of marijuana. Even though two small joints (referred to as “roaches”) were found inside the vehicle, the child was reported to be okay and no arrests were made.
Probable Cause in the State of Texas
The 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution requires law enforcement to find a certain amount of evidence before searching the property of a person. Probable cause, however, in the state of Texas is an indefinite standard. Law enforcement in the state of Texas is able to find probable cause if one of several situations is present. These situations include if it is reasonable to believe that a crime was committed by the person to be arrested, there is probable cause to believe that a crime was committed at the location to be searched, or the location that law enforcement wants to search contains evidence related to the crime.
Texas Motor Vehicle Searches for Marijuana
A man in Denton was recently arrested on drug charges after law enforcement pulled over a vehicle in which the man was a passenger because of outstanding warrants and an expired motor vehicle registration. A woman was also arrested on outstanding warrants due to failure to maintain financial responsibility and not having a driver’s license. The woman’s vehicle was eventually towed from the scene because she did not have insurance. Both the man and woman were taken to Denton City Jail where the man was charged with possession of a controlled substance as well as possession of a dangerous drug. These cases offer examples of how law enforcement officers in Denton conduct traffic stops.
The Requirement of Reasonable Suspicion