I was parke din a parking lot listening to music with a friend when a cop came up and said he smelled weed and made us get out of the car. I didn’t tell him he could search the car but he did anyway and found a joint that we were smoking earlier. I think this was totally wrong. My record is good. I really don’t need this.
There is a line of court cases that hold the police “community care-taking function” is sufficient to stop and make a reasonable inquiry. The standard Terry “reasonable suspicion” [Terry v.Ohio] test is not required. This is fact-specific, of course, but sitting in an open parking lot is obviously not a private or a protected area and the police can walk or drive through without any legal requirement. If the police drive or walk through and the odor of marijuana is determined (even if the officer was mistaken), the permits a more detailed inquiry. It has been held in more than 25 Alabama appellate court decisions that the odor of marijuana is legal sufficient to establish probable cause.