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FindLaw Answers User Question(s) of the Day: Vehicle Search Grab Bag

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By Brian Kumnick on May 06, 2009 7:04 AM

We have a theme for today's questions: many FindLaw Answers users have been hitting the Criminal Law board to ask about police searches of their cars.  Grab your favorite Fourth Amendment treatise (don't forget to get current with a quick read of Arizona v. Gant) and jump in:

Start with Answers user yallen, who wants to know whether the smell of marijuana constitutes probable cause for a search:

My boyfriend was recently pulled over (while I was in the car) and the police proceeded to search the car. I did not give them the authority to search. Well, they found drugs. The police report said he didn't signal a right turn, and the car smelled like marijuana.  Did the officer have sufficient probable cause to search the car by saying he smelled pot?

Got that one figured out?  Good, because here comes the Gant question.  (Hey, we warned you to look it over.)  User joej3839 wants to know the extent of Gant's restriction on searches incident to arrest:

How will the supreme court decision regarding search incident to arrest affect inventory searches of a vehicle after an arrest before it is towed?

Now finish up today's Fourth Amendment variety pack with smartass_blonde's query regarding bag and container searches:

My friend was arrested while driving my car, with another person in the vehicle.  He was charged with possession of precursors and so was the other person.  However, all of the items collected against him where either in her bags or in compartments in the vehicle.  Can he get out of these charges because the vehicle was mine and there was nothing found on his person?
And there's your three-pack of vehicle search questions.  Not too hard, right?  So click on over to Answers and put your Greedy smarts to use, won't you?

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