Traffic stops are common encounters with police officers. But is it legal for an officer to search you and your car if he smells "an odor of burnt cannabis?"
Unfortunately, the Florida Supreme Court says "yes."
In State v. Betz, the State of Florida's highest court affirmed a lower court's ruling that said an officer smelling the odor of marijuana inside of a car is enough probable cause to search the car and the driver.
The main issue then becomes, even if the officer smells marijuana coming from the car, why did he or she pull you over in the first place?
An officer cannot arbitrarily pull you over. He or she must have a reason. This reason may be defective equipment (broken tail light), traffic infraction (speeding, failure to yield, etc...), or perhaps illegal tints. There are many reasons why a police officer can stop you. They just can't stop you without one.
A criminal defense attorney will examine the facts in your case to determine whether the evidence (the marijuana) can be suppressed. If your constitutional rights were violated in any way, the court is obligated to exclude the evidence obtained in violation of your rights.
If you or a loved one have been charged with possession of marijuana in Miami-Dade or Broward, call me.