Police in Putnam County, Florida (which is about an hour south of Jacksonville, Florida) found a large indoor marijuana grow house after a vehicle crashed through a fence at the house, according to an article on News4Jax.com. Police arrived to investigate the crash and smelled the marijuana. At that point, they obtained a search warrant for the house and found 227 marijuana plants and 143 marijuana grow lights. No one was at the home when the police found the marijuana and marijuana growing equipment, but the police are trying to determine who is responsible for the house and marijuana and believe the marijuana grow house is being used to grow marijuana and transport it to south Florida.
Normally, the police in Florida are not allowed to go into a person’s home or through a fence at a person’s home without permission from the homeowner or a search warrant signed by a judge. However, there can be an exception for either emergency situations or where the police are lawfully there for another reason. For instance, if there is an auto accident at someone’s home, the police have a right to investigate that accident. If they find evidence of illegal activity while they are lawfully investigating the accident, they would have the right to investigate that criminal activity. Of course, there are limits to what the police can do when they are investigating an accident. The police cannot use it as an excuse to look around someone’s home to see if there is any evidence unrelated to the accident.
In this case, it would be important to know exactly what the police did and where they went to determine that there was marijuana in the house. If the police discovered the marijuana during the course of their normal accident investigation, the investigation may be legal. If the police started searching around the property when it was not necessary to investigate the accident, the search for the marijuana may be illegal and any evidence of the marijuana may not be used against whomever may get arrested for cultivating marijuana in this case.