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Marijuana Smell Emanating From a Vehicle Constitutes Probable Cause to Search in Wisconsin

Is the smell of pot probable cause to search your vehicle in Wisconsin?

Marijuana has become the issue de jour, with more states legalizing the drug for medical use, recreational use, or more. In Wisconsin the drug remains illegal. Precedents for allowing police to search your vehicle if they smell marijuana have been set in court. If you have been pulled over and accused of marijuana use due to an odor of THC, you need to contact a lawyer from Eisenberg Law Offices quickly.

Blood Levels, Impairment, and Probable Cause

Driving under the influence of marijuana has become a particular sticking point for states that have legalized some form of its use because it’s so difficult to tell if a driver’s abilities have been affected just through test results. Some states have set arbitrary blood test levels while others, including Wisconsin, have decided on a zero-tolerance policy.

In Wisconsin, no impairment is necessary to convict for operating a motor vehicle shortly after using marijuana. However, a blood test is not the only evidence that could get you arrested. If a police officer smells marijuana coming from your car, that smell may constitute probable cause to search your vehicle. Should the officer find marijuana or evidence that you did have marijuana in there, that could land you in court.

In some cases, such as State v. Anderson in 2015, drivers have tried to argue that because there was another person in the vehicle at the time, the officer could not legally pin the blame for drug possession on the driver. The court, however, said the driver’s proximity to the drug was enough to link it to him.

If you have been charged with driving under the influence of marijuana or charged with drug possession after a vehicle search based on the odor of marijuana, contact a lawyer from Eisenberg Law Offices immediately. Don’t think you can rely on technicalities yourself — you need a skilled lawyer to help you fight the charges.