A player for the Atlanta Falcons was arrested for possession of more than one ounce of marijuana, which is a felony in Georgia, according to an article on Espn.com. According to the article, Jonathan Babineaux was pulled over for having an expired tag and no tag light. The officer then smelled marijuana and searched the vehicle, presumably after getting consent from Babineaux. He found a bag with over one ounce of marijuana inside.
Babineax basically invited an arrest for felony possession of marijuana. The police officer listed at least two reasons for stopping Babineaux- an expired tag and no tag light. When a person’s tag is expired, a police officer is authorized to stop the vehicle at any time regardless of whether the driver is violating any traffic laws. Likewise, if the tag light is out and the police officer is unable to see the numbers and letters on the license plate, the police officer can also pull the driver over for that reason. Once the police officer approaches the vehicle and indicates he smells marijuana, he is probably going to ask to search the vehicle. Why people with a big bag of marijuana or other drugs in the car agree to a police officer’s request to search that vehicle is a mystery, but it happens often. People should just be aware that police officers do not have a blanket right to search vehicles, homes or one’s person based on a suspicion of drug or other illegal activity. And if a police officer asks a person to search him/her, the vehicle or anything else belonging to that person, that person always has a right to refuse.