State v. Vennell

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 09-30-2015
  • Case #: A151670
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Armstrong, P.J. for the Court; Nakamoto, J.; & Egan, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

For an officer to have reasonable suspicion to conduct a search, the smell of drugs on the suspect can meet the objective prong of the reasonable suspicion test.

Defendant appealed a ruling that denied his motion to suppress evidence. Defendant was a passenger in a vehicle that was stopped for a traffic violation. Officers received permission from the driver to search the vehicle and found drugs on one of the passengers. The officers then asked all of the passengers to step out of the vehicle. One of the officers noticed that a strong smell of marijuana was emitting from Defendant. The officer asked Defendant if he could search Defendant, and Defendant gave permission. The officer discovered marijuana and methamphetamine paraphernalia on Defendant. The Court found that the officer had reasonable suspicion to search Defendant. Reasonable suspicion requires both that the officer must subjectively believe that the person has committed or is about to commit a crime, and that belief must be objectively reasonable under the totality of the circumstances existing at the time of the stop. The strong smell of drugs can meet the objective prong of this test. Since the officer smelled marijuana emitting from Defendant he had reasonable suspicion to conduct a search for marijuana possession related crimes. Affirmed.

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