The same officer pulled me over a few hours previously to this time. I got pulled over for not having my head lights on (I turned them on before the cop pulled me over, I was also on the road as I pulled out of the gas station then turned them on about 20 feet away from the gas station) he ran a dog and the dog smelled marijuana and the officer stared to search my car and found the piece of weed in my passenger side of my car.
If you were operating the vehicle on a roadway without headlights at a time that headlights were required, even for 1 second, you can be pulled over.
A K9 officer who pulls you over for a traffic violation shouldn't be running his dog around your car unless other officers show up to assist in the stop - write the citation, UNLESS additional info came to light that allowed him to search the vehicle.
You are not automatically responsible for everything in the vehicle, although cops like to tell people that. A possession charge requires that the prosecutor prove the defendant had knowledge of the illegal substance and the ability or intent to control it. That's usually done with admissions from the defendant.
You should hire counsel or ask the court to appoint counsel. The search as you've described it has problems. However, the officer will also have his version of events, detailed in the police report.
This is intended for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon. Legal problems are very fact-specific and anyone with a legal problem should consult with an attorney.
You may or may not be able to beat the charge. It will depend upon the facts and circumstances of your case. You have not provided enough detail to know. It would be difficult to provide that kind of detail online. You should schedule a consultation with an attorney. He will be able to get access to your police reports to review them and get a fuller picture of your case.
I'm sorry for your situation. Can you "win" under the facts you shared? Perhaps. A very fact-specific analysis must be conducted. For example, was the seizure (the traffic stop) valid, or did it violate the constitution? If the traffic stop was valid, was it unlawfully and inappropriately extended? If it was valid and not extended for the K-9 "free air" sniff, was the K-9 and its handler properly trained? If the stop was valid and not unlawfully extended, and the K-9 and the handler were properly trained, can the State prove you "knew" the marijuana was in your vehicle?
You should contact and retain an experienced criminal defense attorney. A marijuana charge can carry with it significant consequences both in court and in the world.
No attorney-client relationship is created by responding to any question on Avvo. Further, nothing contained in any response may be relied upon as legal advice.
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