Miami, FL asked in Criminal Law and DUI / DWI for Florida

Q: Is weed smoke probable cause for a traffic stop? And why don’t police have to have their Dash Cam on during stops?

Typo. Don’t have to have their dash cam activated

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1 Lawyer Answer
Jeffrey H. Garland
Jeffrey H. Garland
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Fort Pierce, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: Yes, marijuana smoke is probable cause for a car search. Usually, the odor of marijuana smoke is detected after a car stop for some other reason. A medical marijuana card does not allow consumption in a vehicle. While the odor of burnt marijuana may persist from previous use, the presence of marijuana smoke would indicate present use. As to the use of police dash cams, it would depend on which agency and what the agency rules might be. Fla Hwy Patrol requires dash cams to be on during a stop. Most other agencies do not routinely install dash cams on patrol cars, except those used primarily for traffic enforcement. There is a significant difference between the use of dash cams and body cams. Your inquiry does not refer to body cams. You or your lawyer could obtain individual agency procedures via public records requests. You may need to follow up with requests for maintenance records if the officer asserts that the dash or body cam was malfunctioning.

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