State v. Malunda, 230 N.C. App. 355 (Nov. 5, 2013)

The trial court erred by concluding that the police had probable cause to conduct a warrantless search of the defendant, a passenger in a stopped vehicle. After detecting an odor of marijuana on the driver’s side of the vehicle, the officers conducted a warrantless search of the vehicle and discovered marijuana in the driver’s side door. However, officers did not detect an odor of marijuana on the vehicle’s passenger side or on the defendant. The court found that none of the other circumstances, including the defendant’s location in an area known for drug activity or his prior criminal history, nervousness, failure to immediately produce identification, or commission of the infraction of possessing an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle, when considered separately or in combination, amounted to probable cause to search the defendant’s person.