Are the police allowed to bring a drug dog to sniff around my car?
A dog sniff normally occurs for a routine traffic stop, so failing to have a turn signal or rolling through a stop sign can turn into an absolute nightmare. The supreme court has provided law enforcement with the ability to have canines at any traffic stop based on their discretion. What that means is that any time someone is pulled over for a routine traffic stop, a canine can be walked around their car to do a “free air sniff.” In a free air sniff, the dog is trying to alert for any sort of drugs that may be located within the vehicle. Once a dog has alerted on your vehicle, this gives law enforcement all of the ammo that they need to be able to get inside your vehicle. If they find anything, any illegal activity, drugs, or paraphernalia, you will be arrested.
The issue with drug dog searches is the dogs are allowed to walk around your vehicle as long as it’s reasonable. Well, that’s a question: What is reasonable? The Supreme Court has been pretty particular about reasonability and dog sniffs. If a cop pulls you over and issues you a traffic citation for failing to stop at a stop sign, completes his investigation, and goes back to his vehicle to gather the canine, that’s unreasonable. It has to be done during the course of the investigation. Although we have these constitutional privileges and protections, they get a little shady when it comes to dog searches. The law is constantly changing with drug dog sniffs and the Supreme Court is constantly adjusting what law enforcement is and is not allowed to do.
If you’ve been arrested because of a drug dog sniff, contact Flaherty Defense Firm today, and let us help you.