Advice - Got pulled over last night

dukebound85

macrumors P6
Original poster
Jul 17, 2005
18,045
1,174
5045 feet above sea level
Last night, I was pulled over in Nebraska for going 81 on the interstate where the speed limit is 75.

The officer gave me a verbal warning. Before letting me go, he said he smelled weed and asked if it was ok if I let him search my car.

I said I would rather he not. He asked me what I was trying to hide to which I responded nothing, I would just rather you not search my car. He then called his deputy over and he also said he also smelled weed.

They then proceed to rip through my car without my consent due to probable cause.

I have NEVER smoked weed, or have ever had possession of it in my life. My car has never had weed inside of it as well.

How is this legal? The cops made up a story in order to search my car without my consent by initially getting pulled over for going 81 in a 75.

I feel the fact that I had Colorado plates made them think I had weed in my car.

Is there any recourse? I felt like my rights were violated.
 

Renzatic

Suspended
It'll end up being your word vs. theirs, and, sad as it is, your word isn't worth as much in these situations.

I'd poke around. Talk to a lawyer for advice, see what they say. I wouldn't just drop it, but at the same time, I wouldn't expect much to come of it, either.
 

smithrh

macrumors 68020
Feb 28, 2009
2,463
833
I think it depends on what you actually said vs. what you might think you said.

If you actually said "I don't consent to a search" that's one thing, if you said "I'd rather you not" you might be on less solid ground.

Of course, IANAL, so contact one.

I suspect that they'll tell you to ask "am I free to go" once the stop is over, and to actually leave when they say yes, but that's for next time.

Cops specialize in deception and intimidation these days, sadly enough.
 

dukebound85

macrumors P6
Original poster
Jul 17, 2005
18,045
1,174
5045 feet above sea level
Always record everything.
I should have but it didn't dawn on me in the moment

----------

I think it depends on what you actually said vs. what you might think you said.

If you actually said "I don't consent to a search" that's one thing, if you said "I'd rather you not" you might be on less solid ground.

Of course, IANAL, so contact one.

I suspect that they'll tell you to ask "am I free to go" once the stop is over, and to actually leave when they say yes, but that's for next time.

Cops specialize in deception and intimidation these days, sadly enough.
It was clear that I didn't consent to a search in this situation.
 

smithrh

macrumors 68020
Feb 28, 2009
2,463
833
Almost certainly both officers were mic'd up and recording audio and dash cam footage, which can be obtained by a lawyer.

----------

I should have but it didn't dawn on me in the moment

----------



It was clear that I didn't consent to a search in this situation.
I'm not disagreeing or criticizing you here. But I also know that words can be twisted, especially by those in power. And, what you thought you said may not be what you actually said - even if, in your mind, it was clear that you weren't consenting.
 

dukebound85

macrumors P6
Original poster
Jul 17, 2005
18,045
1,174
5045 feet above sea level
Almost certainly both officers were mic'd up and recording audio and dash cam footage, which can be obtained by a lawyer.
I should add that they didn't provide me their contact details also. I have already tried calling the highway patrol to issue a complaint but was told it was most likely the sheriffs department

----------

Almost certainly both officers were mic'd up and recording audio and dash cam footage, which can be obtained by a lawyer.

----------



I'm not disagreeing or criticizing you here. But I also know that words can be twisted, especially by those in power. And, what you thought you said may not be what you actually said - even if, in your mind, it was clear that you weren't consenting.
When I told him i didn't consent, that is when he radio his partner to come to our location and have him smell to which he said he also did and then they proceeded to search.

Why would they lie about smelling weed? That is alarming?
 

Huntn

macrumors demi-god
May 5, 2008
17,007
16,447
The Misty Mountains
It'll end up being your word vs. theirs, and, sad as it is, your word isn't worth as much in these situations.

I'd poke around. Talk to a lawyer for advice, see what they say. I wouldn't just drop it, but at the same time, I wouldn't expect much to come of it, either.
I agree. Getting legal advice is the best way to proceed ideally from a grounded, pragmatic lawyer with a realistic view of your situation. I imagine once they say they smell weed, probably cause for a search is established.
 

smithrh

macrumors 68020
Feb 28, 2009
2,463
833
I agree. Getting legal advice is the best way to proceed ideally from a grounded, pragmatic lawyer with a realistic view of your situation. I imagine once they say they smell weed, probably cause for a search is established.
Agreed.

However, dash cam footage can be obtained, and the fact that they found nothing gives lie to the claim of smelling weed.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Huntn

macrumors demi-god
May 5, 2008
17,007
16,447
The Misty Mountains
Why should I consent to a vehicle search?
I'm thinking if they don't need consent, why should they ask for it in the first place? This is why I think the "smelling weed" angle popped up. An easy way to circumvent consent. I find this to be disturbing as if we are moving towards a police state where individual rights mean nada.
 

Gregg2

macrumors 603
May 22, 2008
5,809
344
Milwaukee, WI
Why not? They're going to search it anyway:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motor_vehicle_exception

The motor vehicle exception was first established by the United States Supreme Court in 1925, in Carroll v. United States. The motor vehicle exception allows an officer to search a vehicle without a search warrant as long as he or she has probable cause to believe that evidence or contraband is located in the vehicle. The exception is based on the idea that there is a lower expectation of privacy in motor vehicles due to the regulations under which they operate. Additionally, the ease of mobility creates an inherent exigency to prevent the removal of evidence and contraband. In Pennsylvania v. Labron the U.S. Supreme Court, stated, “If a car is readily mobile and probable cause exists to believe it contains contraband, the Fourth Amendment permits the police to search the vehicle without more.”

The scope of the search is limited to only what area the officer has probable cause to search. This area can encompass the entire vehicle including the trunk. The motor vehicle exception in addition to allowing officers to search the vehicle also allows officers to search any containers found inside the vehicle that could contain the evidence or contraband being searched for. The objects searched do not need to belong to the owner of the vehicle.
 

Renzatic

Suspended
I agree. Getting legal advice is the best way to proceed ideally from a grounded, pragmatic lawyer with a realistic view of your situation. I imagine once they say they smell weed, probably cause for a search is established.
The problem is, probable cause can be established by the officer merely stating they smell weed, regardless of if they actually smell it or not. I've had that line pulled on me once about 15 years ago...while I was standing out in the middle of an open field, about 80 feet away from my car.

There's not much you can do about it, because they can always claim it was an honest mistake after the fact. They had reason for suspicion, they acted upon it, and hey...they were wrong. No big deal, right? The courts will side with them, and your car gets searched without any real probable cause.
 

Huntn

macrumors demi-god
May 5, 2008
17,007
16,447
The Misty Mountains
The problem is, probable cause can be established by the officer merely stating they smell weed, regardless of if they actually smell it or not. I've had that line pulled on me once about 15 years ago...while I was standing out in the middle of an open field, about 80 feet away from my car.

There's not much you can do about it, because they can always claim it was an honest mistake after the fact. They had reason for suspicion, they acted upon it, and hey...they were wrong. No big deal, right? The courts will side with them, and your car gets searched without any real probable cause.
It's an abuse of their authority, but hey we Americans seem to be all for authority/security over individual freedoms these days.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
63,830
30,337
Boston
Is there any recourse? I felt like my rights were violated.
You can file a complaint and their internal affairs will review the case, but I think overall if you did not get arrested and did not get a ticket, just let go. IT will be time and energy on your part without any appreciable gain.
 

Renzatic

Suspended
It's an abuse of their authority, but hey we Americans seem to be all for authority/security over individual freedoms these days.
Only some of us, but those few seem to be the biggest enablers of it.

...and weirdly enough, they tend to claim to be the most anti-authority, rights driven people around. Though that's another story for another PRSI-based thread.
 

Gutwrench

Contributor
Jan 2, 2011
3,889
9,002
In California, if an officer smells weed s/he can search the car and even your person. Consent is not necessary. There is no Constitutional violation. I would say this holds true in all states.
 

BasicGreatGuy

Contributor
Sep 21, 2012
11,664
10,696
In the middle of several books.
Last night, I was pulled over in Nebraska for going 81 on the interstate where the speed limit is 75.

The officer gave me a verbal warning. Before letting me go, he said he smelled weed and asked if it was ok if I let him search my car.

I said I would rather he not. He asked me what I was trying to hide to which I responded nothing, I would just rather you not search my car. He then called his deputy over and he also said he also smelled weed.

They then proceed to rip through my car without my consent due to probable cause.

I have NEVER smoked weed, or have ever had possession of it in my life. My car has never had weed inside of it as well.

How is this legal? The cops made up a story in order to search my car without my consent by initially getting pulled over for going 81 in a 75.

I feel the fact that I had Colorado plates made them think I had weed in my car.

Is there any recourse? I felt like my rights were violated.
Had you been around people who had been smoking weed on the night in question, or had any person(s) riding in your car prior to?

Unless you have evidence that the officers in question were purposefully lying in order to search your car without proper probable cause, or were acting outside the scope of what a prudent officer would do in the same or similar situation, your recourse (short of calling the local police department) will not amount to anything.

http://nebraskalegislature.gov/laws/articles.php?article=I-7
 
Last edited: