When a cop says he "smells pot," he is invoking the automobile exception to the warrant requirement, which is based on exigent circumstances.
Since a person can drive away, and thereby evade arrest and seizure of
evidence of a crime in a car, the Supreme Court crafted the exception
fin Carroll v. United States, a 1925 opinion about bootleggers
getting away from the revenuers, which has done more harm to the 4th
Amendment than perhaps any other case.
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