Vehicle Search Prompted by Marijuana Smell

In eastern Pennsylvania, a Lehigh County judge ruled that state police troopers who claimed they smelled marijuana in a car, were not allowed to search it once they were presented with a passenger’s medical marijuana card.

The authorities said that Timothy Barr was a passenger in the car that his wife was driving when they were stopped by state troopers for a traffic violation. The troopers said they smelled the odor of marijuana and that they had the legal right to search the vehicle, after Barr had already showed them his medical marijuana card. In this search, troopers found small amounts of marijuana and residue as well as a loaded handgun under the driver’s seat which Barr was not allowed to possess due to a prior conviction.

Judge Dantos said that is was “illogical, impractical and unreasonable” for the troopers to suspect illegal activity after Barr showed them his medical marijuana card. “Such actions are merely means of hampering the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes,” Dantos wrote.

Prosecutors will now have to decide whether to appeal to the State Superior Court or to try to move forward without the evidence.

Defense attorney, Joshua Karoly, said, “this case will put a spotlight on the plain smell doctrine in Pennsylvania which police use far too often to invade citizens’ privacy,” he said.

Frank T. Luciano has 40 years experience and is ready to take on your case. He is familiar with possession cases with marijuana, cocaine, and heroin. He is familiar with court proceedings in Bergen (Hackensack), Passaic (Paterson), and Hudson (Jersey City) counties. To get started with an initial consultation call 973-471-0004.

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