Q: In the state of Maryland is the smell of weed a reason to search my car
A: Yes. Possession of marijuana is still illegal in Maryland, even if the amounts are below the criminal threshhold and only qualify for the civil infraction, and simple possession will remain illegal until the new Maryland law goes into effect in July 2023. After that time, mere odor of marijuana may be insufficient to justify a search; however, because you may still be charged with DUI for operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs, the odor of marijuana may still provide reasonable grounds to ask you to step out of the car on suspicion of DUI and be subjected to standard field sobriety tests. That will depend on the facts, such as whether you were seen operating the vehicle, whether you were in the driver's seat of a parked vehicle, whether the engine was running or the keys were in the ignition, the location of the vehicle if parked, etc. In such stops, the police are permitted to perform a protective sweep of the vehicle to insure the absence or securing of any weapons for officer safety, and in that protective sweep, they may discover any illegal quantities of marijuana or other drugs that are pesent, as well as any weapons or other illegal contraband. This type of search can be performed even if you are not ultimately charged with DUI. If they believe they have probable cause to arrest you for DUI, then they can perform a search incident to arrest or may impound the vehicle and conduct an inventory search.
A: There are cases that hold that it is enough to search your car. The cases distinguish between the search of your car during a traffic stop and the search of your person when you are in a store. Of course, the issue turns on the facts of the stop and you should discuss that with an attorney.
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