Felony Drug Charges Dismissed After Deputy Whiffs on Odor

When law enforcements applies for a search warrant based on the odor of marijuana, they must describe to the magistrate how they know recognize the odor.

Things like training, experience, etc., in drug interdiction are critically important to establish probable cause to issue the warrant.

What happens when the application is silent on training and experience?

The drug crime attorneys at GRL Law recently convinced a district court in northwest Iowa to dismiss felony drug charges following a search warrant raid.

A deputy sheriff claimed to have detected the odor of burnt marijuana coming from inside a residence during an earlier interaction with the occupant on the porch.

However, the warrant failed to particularly describe the deputy’s training or experience with the odor of either burnt or raw cannabis.  When that happens, a reviewing court has nothing more than mere suspicion that the deputy is qualified to detect the odor.  Suspicion falls short of probable cause.

While it may be true that most adults know the odor when they encounter it, law enforcement must still describe how they know the odor in the warrant.

If you or someone you know is facing drug charges following a search warrant raid, then reach out to the drug crime lawyers at GRL Law.  We scrutinize the details of each and every warrant application and fight to dismiss charges where evidence is illegally obtained.