When is a search and seizure illegal?
Question Details: I went to a little park with hiking trails; the hours of operation are from dusk to dawn. I arrived around noon and was in the woods for about an hour. When I returned to my vehicle, a sheriff had searched it and found a small bag of marijuana. Is this legal?
It would not be legal unless the sheriff 1) had a warrant; 2) the marijuana was in plain view (e.g. on the seat or dashboard) or the smell of marijuana was plainly detectable outside the vehicle, since a perceived crime (e.g. having an illegal drug which the officer himself sees or smells) gives "probable cause" for a warrantless search; or 3) there were signs in the park (as there are in airports) that anyone and/or their vehicles are subject to search at any time, since if there are, by going there despite the signs, you agreed to allow searches.
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