its hard keeping this one on one hand and the ...

Its hard holding this in one hand and a camera in the other. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I had a police encounter a couple of years ago that I want to share with you. I was driving home at three in the morning. I stopped at a stop sign, lit a cigarette, and continued on my way. Moments after, a police officer pulled me over. He told me that he had seen me light a joint and he wanted to search my car. I asked him if I had to, and he repeated his request to search my car.

I was scared and not sure exactly what to do, so I repeated my question to him and got the same reply but with a much sterner inflection. This went on for what felt like forever, until finally I said that I lived around the corner, it was late, and he had seen me light a cigarette which he could see I was holding in my hand.

I asked him if I could please go home. Reluctantly, he said yes, and I went on my way and got home safely. I was absolutely terrified that he had a right to search my car, and admittedly, I didn’t know exactly what my rights were. Luckily it worked out. Now that I’ve reviewed your website, I better understand my rights in this situation and I realize that smoking a cigarette isn’t probable cause to search.