Federal and state agents continue to make dramatic marijuana arrests in California despite the fact that medical marijuana is legal and even though a ballot measure asking the public to legalize pot is imminent. Although most California lawmakers and office holders favor some form of legalization, this fact also has not visibly dampened the fervor of law enforcement authorities. They apparently are continuing to invest substantial resources in the war against marijuana.
Whenever drugs are found in a car after a traffic stop, the first thing that defense counsel must do is determine the validity of the stop itself. The police cannot randomly stop a car and then later assign the reason for the stop as being a traffic violation. There must be a legitimate traffic violation observed prior to pulling the car over under California and federal constitutional law. If that is not done, drug crimes charged after the illegitimate traffic stop will generally have to be dismissed.