While on routine patrol, a Fort Pierce police officer saw smoke and smelled burning marijuana coming from a car’s windows. He followed the unmistakable odor, and when he stopped the vehicle, the 33-year-old driver reportedly volunteered that it was her marijuana without being asked. A subsequent search of the vehicle uncovered a loaded .38 caliber pistol that was apparently bought off of the street, bags of packaged marijuana, 10 Hydrocodone tablets and a digital scale like the type ordinarily used in drug street sales. A marijuana cigarette from the vehicle’s ash tray was also seized. The Fort Pierce woman was charged with:
- Possession of drugs with intent to sell
- Carrying a concealed weapon
- Possession of a firearm by a felon
Whenever an arrest is made after a traffic stop, an experienced Fort Pierce criminal lawyer will look at the basis of the stop to determine whether there was probable cause to pull the vehicle over. If she had her windows closed, it’s unlikely that there would be probable cause to stop the woman’s vehicle, since no other traffic violations were mentioned. What purportedly gave the officer probable cause to stop the woman was the smell of burning marijuana coming from the vehicle’s open windows. Accordingly, the stop and subsequent search of the vehicle that the woman was driving appears to be legal.
Jonathan Jay Kirschner is a Fort Pierce lawyer who represents clients in the Florida criminal courts. In his years of criminal law practice, Mr. Kirschner has avoided pleas of guilty or trials for his clients by his ability to dispose of charges on motions to suppress arrests and to suppress evidence illegally seized.
Probable cause cases involving motor vehicles are highly complex. The U.S. Supreme Court has stretched search and seizure rules involving motor vehicles due to a driver’s ability to flee and quickly dispose of evidence of criminal behavior. If Mr. Kirschner believes that your rights against illegal search and seizure have been violated, he’ll raise that issue in a pretrial hearing and challenge the prosecution’s entire case against you.
Never give up your valuable rights, and don’t admit guilt to the police. Ask to speak with Jonathan Jay Kirschner immediately after an arrest. He’ll protect your rights and examine each and every element of the prosecution’s case against you. You can reach Mr. Kirschner at 772-489-8501.