When it comes to warrantless searches, the drug crime attorneys at GRL Law really know their stuff.
A recent example from North Iowa shows just how they leverage their knowledge to secure a dismissal by shining a bright light on illegal police conduct.
Our client was the passenger in a vehicle that was parked one minute past the deadline in a city park. Rather than simply wave on the driver, police decided to engage the occupants instead and request identification.
When the driver rolled down the window, the officer smelled marijuana.
Now, the driver owned up to a vape pen in the center console. But the officer announced a pat down for his safety anyway. Starting with the passenger.
There wasn’t really a need. At least not one he could justify.
He certainly wasn’t threatened. No furtive movements. Both occupants were cordial and cooperative. Not a high crime area.
Instead of a pat down, however, the officer straight up searched him. He went directly into our client’s pocket. All of them. And then opened the nondescript vape pen he found to examine the cart for THC branding.
The State didn’t brief the case beforehand, but rather relied on a very recent Iowa Supreme Court case to justify the search. Not as a pat down, but a full search based on the odor of marijuana.
The problem? We immediately digest all Iowa and federal search and seizure opinions. As a result, we are well aware of the nuances of that case. And, on the fly, argued how the odor of cannabis in a vehicle does not authorize the search of a passenger.
The district court agreed and suppressed both searches.
The State had no choice but to dismiss.
When it comes to drug charges arising from warrantless searches, call the drug crime attorneys GRL Law for a consultation.