Police could bluff with the smell test

  • On behalf of Mike G Law posted in on Thursday, May 26, 2016

The so-called smell test is fairly unscientific. Essentially, it just means that a police officer thinks he or she smells marijuana. This could happen, for example, if the police pull you over and they’d like to search your car.

According to some, though, the police are more than willing to bluff. They may not actually smell any marijuana, but they’re just saying it to watch your reaction. If you stammer out something about how you haven’t smoked in your car in forever, they’ll take that as an admission that you have smoked and use it as probable cause to look in the vehicle.

Remember, they need probable cause to do a search. You don’t ever have to give them permission if you don’t want them to search the vehicle. But, if they have probable cause, they can do it no matter what. The smell test can be used to get in the door.

The problem with that, of course, is that the test typically can’t be performed again to see if the officer was right or not. Two weeks later, your car could smell much different. In this sense, it’s a problematic test because you can explain that the officer didn’t smell anything, and even have proof with a smoke-free car, but the officer can claim it smelled that way when he or she pulled you over.

This can get very tricky in court, as it may be your word against the officer’s. Make sure you know what legal options you can use in Florida. You must know how to protect yourself if you believe the officers are lying.

Source: Herb, "Here’s Why the Police “Smell Test” Is Invalid," Brandon Lee, accessed May 26, 2016


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