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  • Plain Smell?

    Ok, I just got back from the Michigan Law Enforcement Youth Training Accademy. Durring the class on Law, the instructor stated that Plain View and Plain feel were exceptions to the search warrant rule, but plain smell was out. When the DI asked me what i learned, I told him that plain smell was not an exception to the search warrant rule, and he said that it was. So, my question is, can you search a subject or vehicle based on an odor?

  • #2
    In NJ plain smell is PC to search a car without a warrant. You are going to have to explain your training and experience that allows you to know what it is you smelled. There is case law on the subject. Try www.findlaw.com.

    Good luck,

    Sammy
    If I could keep one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain. If I could ease one life the aching or cool one pain; or lift a fainting robin unto it's nest again, I shall not live in vain. Emily Dickinson
    www.samanthafund.com

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    • #3
      Same here...

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      • #4
        It depends what you smell. If it's the odor of freshly burnt marijuana, that's plenty of PC to search the vehicle.
        Talk sense to a fool, and he will call you foolish - Euripides

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        • #5
          Yep, Yep, Yep

          When I smell that, I search.

          I have never had a problem in court....
          Retired 02/01/13

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          • #6
            thanks everyone

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            • #7
              Merk911... From a Michigan prospective, I have never had a problem with "plain smell" as a reason to search a car.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by bigcop97
                Yep, Yep, Yep

                When I smell that, I search.

                I have never had a problem in court....
                Ditto here.

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                • #9
                  I don't know what state it was from, but in my Police and Community class we had a case study where an Officer was walking down the street on a beat and smelled burning marijuana coming from inside a house...he used that as PC to enter the home and the case was thrown out in court, as Plain Smell was not probable cause. Again...I can't remember what the case or state was....but is it just because it was coming from a house? And dealing with vehicles is a big difference from houses is that right? or am I wrong?
                  In Memoriam:
                  Cpl. Chad Wayne Powell
                  USMC
                  Killed in Action
                  Fallujah, Iraq
                  June 23, 2005

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by CGPD4566
                    I don't know what state it was from, but in my Police and Community class we had a case study where an Officer was walking down the street on a beat and smelled burning marijuana coming from inside a house...he used that as PC to enter the home and the case was thrown out in court, as Plain Smell was not probable cause. Again...I can't remember what the case or state was....but is it just because it was coming from a house? And dealing with vehicles is a big difference from houses is that right? or am I wrong?
                    Your right! When it comes to houses, compared to vehicles, there is a big difference when it comes to the 4th amendment.
                    If you ever have sprained ankle, give me a call.

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                    • #11
                      I always wanted to try the idea of "plain headache" - whenever I smell burning MJ, I get an instant headache that disappears as soon as I get to clear air!
                      "A man who has nothing which he cares about more than he does about his personal safety is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the existing of better men than himself."
                      John Stuart Mill

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by CGPD4566
                        I don't know what state it was from, but in my Police and Community class we had a case study where an Officer was walking down the street on a beat and smelled burning marijuana coming from inside a house...he used that as PC to enter the home and the case was thrown out in court, as Plain Smell was not probable cause. Again...I can't remember what the case or state was....but is it just because it was coming from a house? And dealing with vehicles is a big difference from houses is that right? or am I wrong?
                        Vehicles have lots of exceptions, due to their inherent mobility. I think the landmark case was Carroll v. United States, but I'm too lazy to look it up.

                        The odor of burnt marijuana from a home would be enough to apply for and probably get a search warrant, but I know of few officers willing to go through that headache for what's probably a joint or two.
                        Last edited by Delta784; 07-11-2005, 04:42 PM.
                        Talk sense to a fool, and he will call you foolish - Euripides

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                        • #13
                          In Illinois, the law explicity allows police to search a vehicle and all occupants if the officer smells burnt cannabis.
                          "The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that the sheepdog must not, can not and will not ever harm the sheep." -Lt. Col. Dave Grossman

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                          • #14
                            So far all I've had to do was say, "I smell it. Where is the rest of it and what you used to smoke it with?" I have yet, although I know it will come, to have anyone try the stupid game. I actually had one guy on a stop that has a history of use. I told him I smelled it when I didn't and he handed me 2 dime bags. DOH!!
                            " (T)o preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them.... " Richard Henry Lee, 1788

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                            • #15
                              What if you smell a dead body?

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