Can Cops Search Your Car – In the past, law enforcement used an officer’s belief that a vehicle or person smelled of cannabis to justify a search. . The defendants faced an uphill battle to attack the tests since they were based on the officer’s feelings. Officers will also use the sight of cannabis – a small joint in a dustbin or trunk – to confirm the search of a vehicle. Proposition 64 was intended to limit law enforcement investigations based on the mere possession or smell of cannabis: “Cannabis products and cannabis [meaning concentrates] that are in any way connected with conduct that [under Regulation 64] is considered illegal.” should not be smuggled. or subject to confiscation, and no conduct deemed lawful under this section shall be the basis of detention, search or arrest. one ounce or less of flower, possession of eight grams or less of concentrate, or six plants by someone 21 years of age or older – no longer a crime or suspect. Also, these limited quantities are non-trivial and cannot be confiscated by law enforcement.
As noble and groundbreaking as the purpose of this research limit is, we have to wait and see how the court interprets this limit. One of the challenges the court must determine is whether officers can search a vehicle in light of the reckless behavior involved. remains a violation or violation of Rule 64, such as driving. The answer depends on the crime and the circumstances.
Can Cops Search Your Car
First, it is generally illegal to have an open container of cannabis in a car while driving. Section 23222 of the Vehicle Law, subsection (b)(1), prohibits a driver from transporting an open container of cannabis. An open container is a container of cannabis or cannabis products that is open or the seal is broken. This offense is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $100.00. The same goes for open cannabis buds in the passenger compartment (no transparency when shaken). (Rev. Code § 23222(b)(1). However, this section also makes it illegal to have a previously opened container of cannabis or cannabis product or cannabis flower – if it is in the trunk (Rev. Code § 23222(b)(2). Another exception is qualified patients who appear Containers of cannabis are first opened in the passenger compartment if eligible patients have identification or a medical marijuana ID card and seal, reseal, or close the container (Veh. Code § 23222( (c)(1-2).)
Medical Marijuana May Stop Police From Searching Your Car Because They Smell Pot
Section 11362.3 of the Health and Safety Code, subsection (a)(4), contains a similar but broader prohibition of having an open container in a vehicle. This section prohibits carrying an open container “while driving, operating, or riding in the passenger seat or part of a motor vehicle, boat, ship, airplane, or other vehicle used for transportation.” Therefore, this section applies to drivers and passengers and includes more than just cars. Additionally, this section does not require the container to be open on anyone’s property, nor does it contain any exceptions for storing the container that has been opened. recorded in the trunk or for eligible patients.
Second, it is illegal for a driver or passenger to smoke or consume cannabis products in a moving vehicle. According to the new law that went into effect on January 1, 2018 and is contained in Section 23220, Subsection (b) and Section 23221, Subsection (b) of the Vehicle. These offenses are punishable as administrative offences. (Vehicle Code Section 23220(d) and Vehicle Code Section 23221(c).)
Given that certain behaviors involving cannabis remain illegal, what does this mean for police trying to search a vehicle? Hopefully an officer will search a vehicle if they see evidence of a crime, such as B. a driver who smokes marijuana? What about the smell of burnt or unburned cannabis in a car? The answers are complex and gradual.
First of all, the legal possession of a legal amount of cannabis is not a reason to search a car. Let’s imagine someone 21 years of age or older goes to a local grocery store and buys 28.5 grams of cannabis flower. This customer leaves the place of sale with the cannabis in its sealed, child-proof, tamper-evident container and leaves the product. in the passenger seat. If the customer is stopped on the way home, for example for speeding, the law enforcement cannot warrant a search. vehicle because of the seal, the box in the passenger seat has not been opened, since such possession, even in the passenger seat, is illegal under the California law. .
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The smell of burnt or unburned cannabis in limited quantities should no longer be a reason to search a vehicle. in the
(2017) 13 Cal.App.5th 1249 the court threw out the search of a youth because a police officer said he smelled marijuana and admitted that he had recently smoked marijuana. The court ruled that smelling and admitting to smoking was more evidence of the commission of a crime (remember, D.W. is under 21). Therefore, the police have no reason to search for the identity of D.W. So if the police smell or observe all that is legal behavior – someone has recently smoked cannabis – it is not justified to search a person or their vehicle, including the log, unless there is a possibility of something illegal happening.
That doesn’t mean the smell of marijuana isn’t grounds for a search. If the smell of unburned cannabis is strong – say the smell could come from fifty pounds – the court can allow a search of a car to find a large amount of cannabis. Finally, it remains illegal for the average person 21 and over to have more than one ounce of dried flowers in their possession while out and about. inside the town.
What if an officer sees illegal activity such as B. a driver smoking cannabis while driving? Of course, the officer can issue a summons to the driver, but the officer can also be authorized to search the vehicle. We cannot know what the court will say. On the one hand, committing a violation, such as a traffic violation or smoking marijuana while driving, generally does not warrant a traffic stop and search under California law, according to and Penal Code Section 853.6 and Vehicle Code Section 40302, subsection (a. ). On the other hand, some cases in California have made it possible to search a car for the smell of alcohol – which can be a sign of an open container or vehicle. under duress – such as:
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(2014) 224 Cal.App.4th 712. In this case, the court ruled that marijuana remains illegal because possession of an ounce or less is illegal. and punishable as a violation – just as the law at the time allowed officers to search the vehicle for illegal substances. Although Regulation 64 states that cannabis, when consumed legally and possessed, is not an illegal substance, one can legally possess cannabis. illegal by illegal use, such as smoking while driving. Be careful with law enforcement using this argument to justify a search of a vehicle.
Another argument that law enforcement can use to justify a search of a vehicle is the need to test for drunk driving. It remains a criminal offense to drive unsafely while under the influence of cannabis. If an officer believes that someone has committed a cannabis DUI, the officer may try to find out what happened to the vehicle to set up the DUI to be confirmed first.
Under Proposition 64, the days of law enforcement using any smell of marijuana, burned or unburned, to justify a search are over. car. However, officers may or may not search a vehicle if they see illegal cannabis use, e.g. B. Sing while driving. Apparently, officers can still warrant a search of a vehicle after arresting someone for cannabis DUI. We also need to see if the courts will allow the police to search a vehicle for contraband if it is being used illegally.
In the midst of this uncertainty, the best way to reduce the risk of someone’s car being searched is to follow Rule 64. This means that you don’t smoke or drink. cannabis while driving, you don’t let your passengers do it either. This means storing your open or pre-opened cannabis container in the trunk of your car or in the back of the car such as a trunk in an SUV or any other vehicle that does not have a regular trunk. . Finally, do not drive if you are under the influence of cannabis.
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Disclaimer: This article is prepared and published for informational purposes only and does not offer legal advice and should not be construed as such.
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