Generally, if police have probable cause to search a vehicle, there is no need for them to obtain a WARRANT before searching it. Carroll v United States, 267 US 132, 153 (1925) (where police have probable cause, “contraband goods concealed and illegally transported in an automobile or other vehicle may be searched for without a warrant”). This so-called motor vehicle exception to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement is based on the exigency created by an automobile’s “ready mobility” and “the individual’s reduced expectation of privacy in an automobile.” Probable cause to search a vehicle is no different than the probable cause necessary to obtain a warrant to search a residence: A finding of probable cause requires a substantial basis for concluding that a search would uncover evidence of wrongdoing. There must be “a fair probability that contraband or evidence of a crime will be found in a particular place.” The standard test whether probable cause exists to support a search, including a search of a motor vehicle without a warrant, should be made in a commonsense manner in light of the totality of the circumstances.

UNDER the above exception, an officer may conduct a warrantless search of all parts of a vehicle, including trunk, containers, and even the passenger’s belongings, if there is probable cause to believe the vehicle contains contraband.

MICHIGAN LAW recognizes that “the smell of marijuana alone by a person qualified to know the oder may establish probable cause to search a motor vehicle, pursuant to the motor vehicle exception to the warrant requirement. Therefore, the police officer who pulls a motorist over for a routine traffic stop and smells what she believes to be the oder of marijuana will be justified in searching the entire vehicle.

Mount Pleasant Michigan Lawyer Todd Levitt, has been representing CMU students for more than 17 years. Such representation involves: Possession of Marijuana; Delivery and Manufacturing of Drugs; DUI’s; Drunk Driving Cases; MIP’s; Retail Fraud; Fleeing and Eluding; Resisting Arrest; Nusiance Party Tickets; Medical Marijuana; Drunk and Disorderly; Attending Nusiance Party; Driver’s License Restoration; Probation Violations and all misdemeanors and felong charges.

For information or representation by Attorney Todd Levitt, call 989-772-6000, free consultation.