What is Probable Cause to Search a Vehicle?




Title: What is Probable Cause to Search a Vehicle? | Nebraska Interstate Drug Defense
Description: If during the course of a traffic stop, an officer develops probable cause to believe you are involved or engaged in the commission of a crime, he is allowed to search that vehicle without first obtaining a warrant.
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If during the course of a traffic stop, an officer develops probable cause to believe you are involved or engaged in the commission of a crime, he is allowed to search that vehicle without first obtaining a warrant. During normal course of a traffic stop, the officer is allowed to ask for certain travel documents, like your license, insurance, and registration. He’s also allowed to inquire as to you of your basic travel plans and itinerary.

If during the course of this traffic stop, he develops what he would consider to be reasonable suspicion to believe you are engaged in criminal activity, he would be allowed to detain you beyond the scope of the traffic stop. The purpose of detaining you beyond the scope of the original traffic stop, mostly likely, would be to have what they call a drug dog conduct a free odor sniff of the vehicle to see if the dog would alert to the odor of narcotics coming from the vehicle.

A very common method utilized by law enforcement is to claim that they smell the odor of raw or burnt marijuana emanating from the vehicle, and Nebraska Supreme Court has determined that if considered to be credible, the officer’s assertion that he smells raw or burnt marijuana coming from the vehicle gives him the necessary probably cause to conduct a full-blown search of the vehicle.

Another common method to develop probable cause is if the officer is able to view certain items of drug paraphernalia in plain view, things like loose marijuana in the center console or a marijuana pipe or other paraphernalia would be indicators that would give him probable cause to conduct a full-blown search of the vehicle.