County Criminal Court: CRIMINAL LAW Ė Search and Seizure --Stop --- Odor of burnt marijuana emanating from a vehicle gives the police probable cause to search both the vehicle and its occupants. Order to suppress reversed. State v. Charles, No. CRC 06-60 APANO (Fla. 6th Cir.App. Ct. October 24, 2007).

 

IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE SIXTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT

OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA IN AND FOR PINELLAS COUNTY

 

STATE OF FLORIDA

 

††††††††††† Appellant,††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Appeal No. CRC 06-60 APANO

UCN522006AP000060XXXXCR

v.

 

 

ERNEST V. CHARLES

 

††††††††††† Appellee.

________________________________/

 

Opinion filed ________________.

 

Appeal from a decision of the

Pinellas County Court

Senior Judge Richard L. Hood

 

Kate Alexander, Esquire

Assistant State Attorney

 

Joseph Hobson, Esquire

Attorney for appellee

 

ORDER AND OPINION

††††††††††† (J. Demers)

††††††††††† THIS MATTER is before the Court on the Stateís appeal from a decision of the Pinellas County Court granting the defendantís motion to suppress. After reviewing the briefs and record, this Court reverses the order granting the defendantís motion to suppress.

††††††††††† The police stopped the defendant for several traffic violations. When the deputy went to speak with the defendant, he smelled a strong odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle. The deputy also noticed the defendant make furtive movements. The deputy, who had extensive training and experience in the detection and recognition of marijuana, searched the vehicle without success, but smelled the strong odor of marijuana on the defendant and then searched him. The marijuana was found on the defendant --- in the area where he was previously making furtive movements. The trial court granted the defendantís motion to suppress, stating that the smell of marijuana was insufficient to justify a search. The State is appealing that ruling.

††††††††††† Contrary to the trial courtís statement, the odor of burnt marijuana emanating from a vehicle provides probable cause to search both the vehicle and its occupants. There is a plethora of cases supporting this rule. See e.g., Betz v. State, 815 So.2d 627 (Fla. 2002); State v. Williams, 2007 WL 2681794, 32 Fla. L. Weekly D2188 (Fla. 1st DCA Sept. 14, 2007) and cases cited therein.

††††††††††† IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the order granting the defendantís motion to suppress is reversed, and this case is remanded to the trial court for action consistent with this Order and Opinion.

††††††††††† DONE AND ORDERED in Clearwater, Pinellas County, this _____ day of October, 2007.

 

___________________________††††††††††††††††† ____________________________

††††††††††† David A. Demers††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Raymond O. Gross

††††††††††† Circuit Court Judge†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Circuit Court Judge††††††††††††††††††

 

†††††††††††

††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††† _____________________________

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††† Robert J. Morris, Jr.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††† Circuit Court Judge

 

cc:††††††† Office of the State Attorney

††††††††††† Honorable Richard L. Hood

††††††††††† †††††††† †††Joseph Hobson, Esquire