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  1. #1
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    Nov 2009
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    Unhappy Pulled Over for Minor Traffic Violation, Police Searched and Seized Marijuana

    My question involves police conduct in the State of: Michigan

    I've never been in trouble with the police before aside from a few speeding tickets over 5 years ago. I was pulled over for an "illegal lane change", which I don't believe happened (and I did not get a ticket for it). Upon providing the officer with license and registration, he asked for me to get out of the car. I complied and stepped out. He proceeded to search my person, discovering a guitar capo and a cell phone in my pockets.

    The officer told me that he had reason to believe that I had contraband in the car "maybe a little personal use marijuana", and asked if he could search the car. I told him I wouldn't agree to anything that violated my rights, and he told me that because he was suspicious, I had to allow him to search the car. He asked if he would find anything in the car, and I said "maybe". He found a 1/8 oz bag of marijuana and a glass pipe in the center console and continued searching the car. As he searched, I spoke with the other officer about medicinal marijuana use, as I use it for back pain and intestinal issues. I do not have a Michigan Medicinal Marijuana card, as the legislation is rather new, and I do not have insurance that would cover a trip to the doctor for diagnosis.

    When the officer who had been performing the search joined the conversation with my contraband in hand, he told me that I wasn't going to be arrested, and that they were just going to confiscate what I had. They asked where I got it from and I told them I didn't even know the guy's name - which I don't.

    The officer said something about the Prosecutor as he was returning to his car, but I didn't receive a ticket or any indication that they were going to do anything further than confiscation.

    I have a couple questions about this situation:
    1. Was I the victim of illegal search and seizure?
    2. Am I "off the hook", or do I need to worry about further legal action considering I received nothing from the officer at the time of the incident?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Default Re: Pulled Over for Minor Traffic Violation, Police Searched and Seized Marijuana

    Quote Quoting harkoo
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    I have a couple questions about this situation:
    1. Was I the victim of illegal search and seizure?
    2. Am I "off the hook", or do I need to worry about further legal action considering I received nothing from the officer at the time of the incident?
    1. Why did he say you had MJ for personal use? Did he perhaps smell such?

    If he did, he probably had probable cause already to search.


    2. No one can say, but it looks like a clear shot, as no doubt if it was an arrestable offense, he would have done so. If it was just citable, I see no reason to charge later and let the person leave the scene?

  3. #3
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    Nov 2009
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    Thumbs up Re: Pulled Over for Minor Traffic Violation, Police Searched and Seized Marijuana

    Quote Quoting BOR
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    1. Why did he say you had MJ for personal use? Did he perhaps smell such?
    He didn't say he smelled anything. He saw me smoking a cigarette and asked what it was. I had put it out in the ashtray in the car instead of littering, and I'm guessing he became suspicious. He asked what it was, and I removed the ash tray and showed him the contents - a bottle cap, some change and two cigarette butts. The MJ and pipe were concealed in old cigarette boxes in the center console.

    I'm quite certain I was profiled because of my appearance - layered clothes - hoodie - army-type jacket over the top, stocking cap, and rather large beard. (not to mention a guitar in the backseat)

    Quote Quoting BOR
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    2. No one can say, but it looks like a clear shot, as no doubt if it was an arrestable offense, he would have done so. If it was just citable, I see no reason to charge later and let the person leave the scene?
    I suggested to the officer, in jest, that I was suspicious he was going to go back home and use the pipe to smoke the weed... and told him it was really good sh**, at which point he looked me in the eye and smirked - as I looked at the attending officer, I got a hunch that I may have just bribed the police with really good weed.

    I too, am assuming that because nothing was issued at the time, and I simply drove off after a brief, humorous, well-received conversation with the officer who took the MJ, that it would be poor protocol to issue something later if it was prosecutable immediately.

  4. #4
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    Aug 2007
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    Default Re: Pulled Over for Minor Traffic Violation, Police Searched and Seized Marijuana

    Quote Quoting harkoo
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    He didn't say he smelled anything. He saw me smoking a cigarette and asked what it was. I had put it out in the ashtray in the car instead of littering, and I'm guessing he became suspicious. He asked what it was, and I removed the ash tray and showed him the contents - a bottle cap, some change and two cigarette butts. The MJ and pipe were concealed in old cigarette boxes in the center console.

    I'm quite certain I was profiled because of my appearance - layered clothes - hoodie - army-type jacket over the top, stocking cap, and rather large beard. (not to mention a guitar in the backseat)
    If charged, the officer will have to testify under oath WHY he searched your car, I can not say what articulation he had in his mind.

    I suggested to the officer, in jest, that I was suspicious he was going to go back home and use the pipe to smoke the weed... and told him it was really good sh**, at which point he looked me in the eye and smirked - as I looked at the attending officer, I got a hunch that I may have just bribed the police with really good weed.

    I too, am assuming that because nothing was issued at the time, and I simply drove off after a brief, humorous, well-received conversation with the officer who took the MJ, that it would be poor protocol to issue something later if it was prosecutable immediately.
    Not likely he took it for evidence, then charge later. If you are charged and he does not have it, he's in doo doo.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    Default Re: Pulled Over for Minor Traffic Violation, Police Searched and Seized Marijuana

    Quote Quoting harkoo
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    My question involves police conduct in the State of: Michigan

    I've never been in trouble with the police before aside from a few speeding tickets over 5 years ago. I was pulled over for an "illegal lane change", which I don't believe happened (and I did not get a ticket for it). Upon providing the officer with license and registration, he asked for me to get out of the car. I complied and stepped out. He proceeded to search my person, discovering a guitar capo and a cell phone in my pockets.

    Yes, your rights appear to have been violated right here. Since you were not apparently under arrest, and you didn't mention anything about a warrant, the officer can only "frisk" you for weapons if he has a reasonable belief that you are armed. That frisk is limited to that which could produce a weapon, neither item seized could reasonably be believed to be a weapon.

    If your facts are legit, I'd say the "frisk" initiated without justification, and exceeded the scope of it's purpose.

    The officer told me that he had reason to believe that I had contraband in the car "maybe a little personal use marijuana", and asked if he could search the car. I told him I wouldn't agree to anything that violated my rights, and he told me that because he was suspicious, I had to allow him to search the car. He asked if he would find anything in the car, and I said "maybe".
    Did you ever agree to let him search? If not, he most likely searched your car illegally also.

    He found a 1/8 oz bag of marijuana and a glass pipe in the center console and continued searching the car. As he searched, I spoke with the other officer about medicinal marijuana use, as I use it for back pain and intestinal issues. I do not have a Michigan Medicinal Marijuana card, as the legislation is rather new, and I do not have insurance that would cover a trip to the doctor for diagnosis.

    When the officer who had been performing the search joined the conversation with my contraband in hand, he told me that I wasn't going to be arrested, and that they were just going to confiscate what I had. They asked where I got it from and I told them I didn't even know the guy's name - which I don't.

    The officer said something about the Prosecutor as he was returning to his car, but I didn't receive a ticket or any indication that they were going to do anything further than confiscation.
    Wow, you caught a big break.

    1. Was I the victim of illegal search and seizure?
    I'd say yes, unless there is more to the story.

    2. Am I "off the hook", or do I need to worry about further legal action considering I received nothing from the officer at the time of the incident
    Looks like you are off the hook to me.

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