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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
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    7

    Default Can the Police Open Somebody's Car Door Without Their Consent

    My question involves civil rights in the State of: Texas

    Ok, so my friend and i were parked behind a church and were preparing to smoke weed. All of a sudden the cops pull up behind us, get out of their car, open the door of my friends pick up truck and proceed to question us. They ask us what was in our bags, and we tell them that it's stuff so that we can stay the night. The officer notices a pill bottle and asks what was in there. We tell them its allergy pills but they aren't satisfied then proceed to grab the bottle out of our hands and discoer that weed was in the bottle. We were both ticketed for drug paraphernalia (which could have been way worse). I was wondering if there were any legal loopholes or ways i could fight the ticket? If not, how can i get this off of my record or spend the least money possible on the ticket? I have heard to plea guilty and the defer the ticket and be on probation, but is there a way to plea not guilty and defer the ticket and get this off of my record? How much should the ticket cost if we only had 2 grams on us? When the cops opened our door without our consent, did it violate the 4th amendment? Was taking the pill bottle from us without consent anything significant? Please respond ASAP. Thank you in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,345

    Default Re: Can the Police Open Somebody's Car Door Without Their Consent

    So you smelled like dope. Texas allows a "plain smell" exemption to the requirement of obtaining a search warrant.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    18,904

    Default Re: Can the Police Open Somebody's Car Door Without Their Consent

    You've lost me. Where was the door opened in your story? Once they've identified you as having committed a crime, they're free to open the door to arrest you. If they opened the door before they had probable cause for the arrest, then we might have another story. NEVER plead guilty unless you have legal counsel as to the implciations of doing so. Even small amounts of marijuana will end up on a criminal record. This is not one of the cases you're going to get a deferred disposition and eventual expungement.


    You need an attorney to look at the exact details and advise you.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    20,287

    Default Re: Can the Police Open Somebody's Car Door Without Their Consent

    Quote Quoting Mk99814
    View Post
    Ok, so my friend and i were parked behind a church and were preparing to smoke weed.
    What does this mean? Does it mean the weed was out? Along with pipes and/or papers and a lighter?

    I suppose it means that at the very least the aroma of weed was obvious.

    All of a sudden the cops pull up behind us, get out of their car, open the door of my friends pick up truck and proceed to question us. They ask us what was in our bags, and we tell them that it's stuff so that we can stay the night.
    I suspect it is a little more than what you mentioned here - and a little less abrupt.

    And where were you planning to stay the night? In the back of a church??

    The officer notices a pill bottle and asks what was in there. We tell them its allergy pills but they aren't satisfied then proceed to grab the bottle out of our hands and discoer that weed was in the bottle.
    Yeah, when I smell weed, I don't tend to believe people when they have a bottle in plain view, either. Pill bottles are a common medium to store dope so it makes sense that they'd focus on it.

    Once the officers smelled the weed, you handed them reasonable suspicion to detain you and probable cause to search.

    I have heard to plea guilty and the defer the ticket and be on probation, but is there a way to plea not guilty and defer the ticket and get this off of my record? How much should the ticket cost if we only had 2 grams on us?
    You can ask your attorney what options are available in your area.

    When the cops opened our door without our consent, did it violate the 4th amendment? Was taking the pill bottle from us without consent anything significant?
    It depends on what the officer says about why the door was opened? As for the pill bottle, once they smelled the aroma of marijuana they pretty much had carte blanche to dig deeper.
    **********
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    301

    Default Re: Can the Police Open Somebody's Car Door Without Their Consent

    The officer needs reasonable suspicion to investigate beyond mere observation and consensual conversation. A car parked behind a church with no apparent reason to be there is suspicious. The officer then was entitled to look in the car and check you out. Oh, what's that? Weed? Now there's probable cause. No 4th amendment issues I can see. You were doing what you are accused of doing, and the officer saw you doing it, so I don't see how you're going to succeed in being found not guilty. But your attorney is the one to review all the facts and circumstances with because she can have a full conversation with you about it.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,345

    Default Re: Can the Police Open Somebody's Car Door Without Their Consent

    Quote Quoting jdbofky
    View Post
    The officer needs reasonable suspicion to investigate beyond mere observation and consensual conversation. A car parked behind a church with no apparent reason to be there is suspicious. The officer then was entitled to look in the car and check you out. Oh, what's that? Weed? Now there's probable cause. No 4th amendment issues I can see. You were doing what you are accused of doing, and the officer saw you doing it, so I don't see how you're going to succeed in being found not guilty. But your attorney is the one to review all the facts and circumstances with because she can have a full conversation with you about it.
    Cop is entitled to look into the vehicle without entering the vehicle. Cop is not allowed to open door without justification. The pill bottle itself may or may not provide probable cause. The specifics matter there.

    Regardless, Texas allows a "plain smell" allowance to establish probable cause and since pot smokers and their vehicles generally reek of the odor of pot, more likely than not cop had pc to search.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Can the Police Open Somebody's Car Door Without Their Consent

    The cops did not wait for us to roll down the window of my friends pick up, they just simply opened the door and began questioning us. You could not smell the weed as the pill bottle was air tight, and no smell was emitted because we hadnt opened the container in the car. We had no pipes or papers at all, all we had was an empty water bottle and some tin foil (which i thought they would confiscate but they didnt). Does it make a difference that we hadn't smoked that night? The charge is for drug paraphernalia, not drugs itself. Can that determine whether the ticket can be deferred or expunged?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    7,600

    Default Re: Can the Police Open Somebody's Car Door Without Their Consent

    Just because you hadn't smoked that night doesn't mean the truck was free of the odor of marijuana.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Can the Police Open Somebody's Car Door Without Their Consent

    We hadnt opened the airtight containers in the car and they were in bags so there was no aroma.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    7,600

    Default Re: Can the Police Open Somebody's Car Door Without Their Consent

    Quote Quoting Mk99814
    View Post
    We hadnt opened the airtight containers in the car and they were in bags so there was no aroma.
    You need to stop smoking weed. It is affecting your brain. It doesn't matter if you had everything in airtight containers. If you had smoked weed in the truck at ANY time in the recent past, it likely still reeked of weed.

    You need an attorney to review the full facts for you.

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