The question the court faced was whether the police needed to obtain a search warrant when they smell a strong odor of marijuana coming from a hotel room. In a decision that will be very good news for all persons who smoke marijuana in the privacy of their home or in a hotel they may visit, the court of appeals threw our the defendants convictions and ordered that all of the evidence seized during the search of the hotel room must be suppressed. Without this evidence the cases will have to be dismissed.
The courts decision was based upon the fact that the marijuana possession of less than 28.5 grams is a “non-jailable” offense. This means it is not a serous offense and thus the police cannot claim that they must be allowed to enter your home or hotel room without a warrant in order to seize this evidence. The court reasoned that since all the police can do if they in fact find you in possession of less than 28.5 grams of marijuana is issue you a citation there is no “emergency” so great that would allow the police to enter your residence or hotel without first obtaining a search warrant.
Why is this so critical to those persons that want to be free from unlawful searches and seizures of their home and property under our constitution? It is so important because police have been using the “smell of marijuana” coming from the residence excuse to unlawfully break into peoples home for decades. The “risk’ of harm when police storm into your home is great. Often police will handcuff everyone they see in the home and they will conduct a search of your entire home looking for anything “unlawful” they might find. With this court having the guts to see through this police “ploy” this will no longer work for law enforcement when they would like to enter your home or hotel room to attempt to find evidence so they might arrest you.
While this is good news for those that smoke marijuana in their homes or in a hotel room, it is even better news for the people of our state and nation who will no longer have their constitutional rights violated by this unlawful police conduct.
We would like to know how you feel about this. If you are facing a criminal case and would like our help as to a possible search and seizure issue feel free to call the criminal defense attorneys at Wallin and Klarich at 888-280-6839. We have been helping people fighting for their freedom for over 30 year and we will be there when you call.