It has been held by Ohio courts that the smell / odor of marijuana provides the reasonable suspicion of illegal drug activity that can justify in further detainment of a vehicle.  This would include calling for a drug dog as discussed in the last weeks blog.   Further, it has also been held that the smell of marijuana, by a trained person qualified to recognize its odor, is enough to establish probable cause to search the vehicle.

However, there are limits to the scope of the search.  For instance, it has been held that the smell of burnt marijuana in the passenger compartment of a stopped vehicle does not justify the searching of the vehicle’s trunk.  In contrast, when an officer stopped a vehicle and smelled raw marijuana, coupled with the occupants response of “I don’t know” when asked how much marijuana was in the car, was enough to allow the officer to search the truck.

The court held that the scope of the search is defined by the places in which the officer has probable cause to believe the contraband exists.

Make sure your attorney explores all options when evaluating your case if marijuana was discovered in a Columbus, Ohio OVI arrest.