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During a routine stop for a traffic violation, the police officer detected what he deemed to be the odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle he had pulled over.  Having what he considered being probable cause; the officer searched the car and found two bags of pot in the trunk.  He promptly arrested the driver and charged him with possession of a controlled substance.

The arrested individual told his attorney that the policeman “had it in for him” because of the way he looked and because of his previous run-ins with the law.   Knowing that his client already had two prior convictions on drug charges, and that he was looking at serious jail time if convicted a third time, the defense attorney knew that he had to come up with something.  He contacted CompuWeather, requesting an analysis of the weather at the time of the arrest, especially with regards to the wind.  The meteorologist assigned to the case did a micro-analysis of the wind field at the exact site where the car was pulled over.  He also made a site visit to the location, in order to determine what, if any, effect surrounding objects, such as buildings and trees, might have had on the wind.

The meteorologist’s analysis showed that at the time of the arrest, the wind was coming from such a direction that it would have been flowing from the officer’s back towards the car, at a speed of 17-20 miles per hour. The report indicated that it had been a warm evening, so it was not unreasonable for the car to have had all of its windows rolled down, as the driver had stated.  This would have the effect of allowing wind to flow into the window on the driver’s side of the car, and then out the open windows on the other side.  Using this information, the defense attorney argued that there was no possible way that the officer could have smelled the pot in the trunk of the car, as the wind was blowing away from him at a fairly brisk pace, which would have carried the odor away, and not towards him.  So the search of the vehicle was illegal, as there had been no probable cause to do so.

Based in part on this information, the District Attorney reduced the charges against the driver, since the credibility of the officer’s testimony had, to a certain degree, gone up in smoke.  The driver agreed to the plea, and received a lesser sentence – for the time being anyway.  Months later he was arrested once again and convicted, which lead to a much longer stint in jail.