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An officer asked a 19-year-old if he had any drugs on him, he said no — except a bag of pot peeking out from a pocket

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‘Sorry, I shouldn’t have lied’

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A 19-year-old in Indiana tried, unsuccessfully, to argue that he didn’t own the baggie of illicit cannabis an officer saw hanging out of his shirt pocket.

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The weed was allegedly seen after a deputy with the Porter County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) stopped the man from Portage for driving into an oncoming lane of traffic earlier this week, reports NWI Times, citing the arrest report. Upon exiting his patrol vehicle, the officer reports that there was an “overwhelming aroma of marijuana emanating from the vehicle.”

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Chambers Law Offices, LLC reports searches usually require warrants, but not always, citing the “plain view exception, and an extension of that, the plain smell exception.” In essence, “if a police officer stops your car and smells the odour of marijuana, the officer has probable cause to believe there is marijuana in the car and they can search the car and containers within that car for marijuana.”

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  1. none

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  2. In Ireland, it is “an offence to cultivate, import, export, produce, supply and possess cannabis.” /

    Panicked passenger puts pot down pants

  3. Once the officer arrived next to the vehicle, his nose took over. /

    Passenger hands over cannabis-stuffed shoe after officer smells something amiss

The PCSO deputy asked if there were any drugs in the vehicle, but the driver responded there weren’t. Providing the driver with another chance to fess up, the officer asked the same question again but was given the same response.

That left nothing for the officer to do, but retrieve the baggie, said to contain about an ounce (28 grams) of marijuana, allegedly hanging from the man’s shirt pocket, the arrest report indicates.

The driver’s response at that point was apparently more forthcoming. “Sorry, I shouldn’t have lied,” he is quoted as saying.

Recreational cannabis remains illegal in Indiana. According to Chambers Law Offices, for a first offence, possessing less than 30 grams of cannabis is treated as a misdemeanour carrying a top penalty of 180 days in jail and/or a US$1,000 $1,340) fine. A prior conviction for the same offence ratchets up top jail time and fines to 365 days and/or US$5,000 ($6,700).

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If the amount exceeds 30 grams and the person has a prior possession conviction, the possible charge becomes a felony carrying six to 2.5 years’ incarceration and a top fine of US$10,000 ($13,400), the information notes.

The driver was taken to Porter County Jail and booked for misdemeanour cannabis possession, NWI reports. Information from the PCSO notes the accused has since been booked out.

Pharos-Tribune reported this past June that a man with the same name and age had been arrested for public intoxication and minor consumption, although the police blotter does not mention the suspected substance involved.

The Indiana incident is not the first involving denial of apparently plain-view or in-possession drugs.

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In the summer of 2020 in Florida, a 40-year-old man caught with illegal weed in his pants pocket responded the trousers weren’t his and neither was the bud. He claimed a passerby had provided him with the pot pants.

This past April, three convicted felons in California — aged 20, 23 and 29 — were arrested after a sheriff’s deputy spotted them in parking garage with weed in plain view.

Though denial was not part of the M.O., pants and pockets have also proved questionable weed-hiding spots in the past.

An illegal pot arrest was made easy last year in Texas, where officers who had stopped a suspicious vehicle could plainly see the driver had weed all over the inside of the car and even in his lap. The man, who turned out to be wanted, also had at least one item reported as stolen as part of the earlier theft of guns.

And earlier that same year, an 18-year-old Pittsburgh man tried to evade marijuana-related charges by stuffing a joint down his pants but forgot about the burnt weed smell emanating from the vehicle.

He was ultimately charged with multiple counts, namely receiving stolen property, carrying a firearm without a licence, drug possession, driving under the influence and a traffic violation.

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