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Smoked Pot in the Past? Don’t Tell Indiana State Police: Indiana Appeals Court Rules Admitting to Past Marijuana Use Validates Vehicle Search

Pot laws may have become lax in some parts of the country, but no matter how liberal laws may be some places it’s never a good idea to tell a cop you’ve smoked weed. Even if you haven’t smoked for years or live in a state where cannabis is legal.

This is something John Toschlog recently learned the hard way.

Indiana Appeals Court Rules Admitting Past Marijuana Use Warrants a Drug Sniffing Dog

Last week, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled that admitting to past marijuana possession, while pulled over on a traffic violation, is enough justification for cops to use a drug sniffing dog in a vehicle search.

In August 2016, Toschlog and a passenger were pulled over in Valparaiso, Indiana. They were on their way to Warsaw from their home state of Washington and were initially stopped for a headlight that wasn’t working.

When Toschlog was asked by the officer that pulled him over if he had any drugs in the car, he said no. When the officer asked if he had ever had drugs in the car, Toschlog admitted that he had possessed marijuana in Washington, a state where it’s recreationally legal.

It was then the officer requested a canine unit to search Toschlog’s vehicle. While court records indicate the officer didn’t detect a smell of marijuana coming from the vehicle, he maintains he requested a canine unit because Toschlog’s admittance to possessing cannabis in the past made him suspicious.

When the dog was called in, 2 grams of marijuana were found under the front passenger seat. DMT was also discovered in a backpack in the vehicle. Toschlog was arrested and charged with three misdemeanors…but not for a missing headlight ticket.

The trial had been put on hold until now while Toschlog researched the legality of the search that was performed.

In Indiana,Telling Cops You’ve Used Pot in the Past is Considered Suspicious Activity

When it was finally heard last week however, the appeals court determined in a 3-0 decision that Toschlog’s admittance to possession of marijuana in the past gave police reasonable suspicion that there was criminal activity taking place.

The judge asserted that Toschlog was not obligated to answer questions related to past drug possession.

According to the judges, “His choice to do so and to disclose inculpatory information, that he had previously had drugs in his car, provided the officer with reasonable suspicion to believe at that point that Toschlog currently had marijuana in his vehicle.”

Lesson learned.

Remember, the next time you’re in Indiana and you get pulled over NOT to tell the cops you’ve ever used weed. And just to be safe, try not to travel with it either.

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