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Criminal Law/Marijuana citation in Maryland

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Hello there,

So, the other day, I was driving home from the store and noticed a lot of police cars driving around my neighborhood. A little uncomfortable with two police cars blocking the roadway up ahead, I came to a staggered-stop at a stop sign. I knew they would notice this and surely pull me over. As I'm waiting, a police officer walks up to my window and asks for my license, as well as two other passengers in the car. Then he goes on to say that the car smells like pot (which is unlikely because there was no pot smoking in the car). I assured him there was no marijuana in the car. He then tried to tell me to get out of my car so they can search this. I respectfully told him I do NOT consent to a search due to the fact it was late and I just wanted to go home. He then got an attitude and ordered me and the others out of the car. I was not put in handcuffs, but my two friends and I were searched without anything being found. As we are sitting on the curb, the police officers search my car, glove compartment and trunk included. Since it was cold outside, the officers let us sit back in the car. Once the officer was finished, he asked me to step outside of the car and sign some papers, of course I read them. One was for the stop sign of course, but then he tells me found weed and has given me a citation for it! He found some small baggies in the car, but they were used for small utilities which I had told him. If he has found weed, he never asked me if it was mine or anything, just gave me the citation! I'm seriously worried , but this all sounds very fishy.. I have not received a court date yet as it has only been a few days. Is there a chance this will be thrown out?

Thank You,
Delmar

P.S. This happened in Maryland, USA

Answer
Delmar,

From what you tell me there is a good chance for the citation to be dismissed.  I am not sure what you encountered at the stop sign.  Was it a DUI or Drug Checkpoint?  Regardless,  Constitutional reasonableness requires something akin to probable cause to be legal. The United States Supreme court has recognized suspicion-less, government roadblocks only in two instances: One, where necessary to protect the safety of our national borders and two, where necessary to protect the public on roadways from drunken drivers.  The fact that you properly declined a search of your vehicle, which may have violated your 4th Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure, lends weight to the possibility of the charge being dismissed.  Like anything else of importance in your life you should consult an attorney in your local area for guidance and for protection.  

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Jeffrey Hauck

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I would welcome the opportunity to answer questions relating to or related to the field of criminal law.

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Criminologist. Professor of Criminal Justice. Licensed Private Detective with expansive clientele base encompassing hundreds of cases. Donates resources and time to the Children's Rescue Network in Orlando, FL.

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