Marijuana Smell Causes Florida DUI Stop; Charges Dropped For Lack Of Evidence

Police are always on the look-out for possible DUI arrests. However, most do not assume that the investigating police officer involved might be acting without probable cause. Like everyone though, police make mistakes. If one is arrested for a DUI, one should obtain an experienced DUI attorney to fight the case and ensure one’s rights are protected.

According to CarScoop.com, charges have been dropped against Joseph McNeal, a Sarasota businessman and participant in a DUI stop that was allegedly provoked by a strong smell of marijuana that the officer said was coming from the car. Once stopped, the officer searched McNeal and the car several times, eventually finding a used marijuana roach in the trunk of his car. The State Attorney’s Office has finally dropped McNeal’s charges, as there was no evidence obtained that might help in a conviction.

Florida has been moving towards allowing police officers to call Judges and obtain warrants for blood alcohol samples on the highway rather than have them fail the field sobriety test and/or breath test and later take the sample. As Florida moves towards being tougher on DUIs , it is important for one to know one’s rights concerning a police officer obtaining telephone warrants, as well as what the police officer can search without a warrant during a DUI stop in Jacksonville.

Most of the time, police stops based on reasonable suspicion are not too complicated. Probable cause to stop a vehicle can be obtained from simple acts such as erratic driving, strange odors wafting from the vehicle, and other conduct that might be associated with illegal conduct. However, when increasingly covert drug sales leave trails via phone, internet or other means, the possibility of an arrest goes up considerably as well as the amount of evidence that may now be used to convict someone of the charge. As such, police may search harder than normal for evidence that might convict, searching containers, compartments, and even cell phones without a warrant.

Under the Constitution, all searches must be supported by probable cause. Including arrest warrants, requirements for warrants based on probable cause and specificity in description protect one’s rights under the Constitution and stands in the way to protect the accused from shoddy police work. However, many times, accused parties do not know whether the search conducted was executed properly, resulting in wrongful convictions.

In this case, it is easy to see that this particular officer wanted more evidence on McNeal to arrest him for either; possession of an illegal substance or driving under the influence of that substance. After multiple strip searches, two drug dog assisted searches, a plea to McNeal himself for an admission of guilt, as well as a request for a deal on the drugs that the officer thought were in the car, McNeal’s car and person turned up almost empty.

Fortunately, one does not have to fight the battle for one’s freedom alone. If one obtains an experienced attorney to fight the case and ensure one’s rights are protected, one can be sure that one will know one’s rights, know what the prosecution and police have access to, and will be able to make sure that wrongfully obtained evidence will not be used against one.
One’s best advice is to never drive when one has consumed alcohol. One’s future may be at risk when one is charged with a DUI. One needs a knowledgeable and experienced Jacksonville DUI lawyer to fight the case. Don’t allow your life to be ruined by a DUI charge. Defend yourself.


The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for years and are here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one require a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.

Additional Source: Florida Cop Smells “A Lot of Marijuana” in a Jaguar Driving on the Highway, Finds Near to Nothing, CarScoop.com