People v. Osoy (California 2020) 2020 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 6081

Odor of Marijuana as Probable Cause; Plain View Doctrine

LE noticed a car parked in a handicapped space without a handicapped placard or plate. As LE approached the car, LE smelled the odor of marijuana coming from the car. LE requested the driver and passenger exit the car. LE noticed a toiletry bag on the floorboard of the driver’s side that had small plastic bags containing a white crystalline substance inside. The car was searched and meth was found. The driver argued in a motion to suppress that the odor of marijuana did not justify the detention of driver or the search of his car.

The appellate court held that they deferred to the implied finding by the trial court that LE observed on the floorboard of the car plastic baggies containing what appeared to be methamphetamine, that the vehicle was in an area that was known for the sale and ingestion of drugs and LE observed no personal use paraphernalia. These facts amounted to probable cause to search the vehicle.