When Does a Drug Dog Violate Your Rights?
Drug dogs are often used in drug busts in Wyoming. These drug-sniffing dogs may be used to search a home, vehicle, or other area. The U.S. Constitution protects a person’s rights, including the right to be free from illegal search and seizure. When a law enforcement officer believes there is sufficient evidence that you may have committed a crime, drug-sniffing dogs may be employed. However, this action may have violated your rights.
Traffic Stops and Drug-Sniffing Dogs
If you were pulled over for a traffic violation, you can be legally stopped by law enforcement. However, without probable cause that you committed some other crime (in this case, drug-related), there must be evidence to support a search with a drug dog. If you are asked if your vehicle can be searched, it indicates that the officer does not have probable cause, and you have the right to refuse the search.
If the dog is walked around your vehicle and then alerts to an illegal drug, it poses legal issues. The alert by the dog may have been false. Claiming that a drug dog alerted does not necessarily provide probable cause for a search; false alerts are very common, but even a false alert can lead to an arrest.
Home Searches and Drug Dogs
In your home, you have the right to privacy, and a search of your home and property requires a search warrant unless the officers have probable cause to believe a crime is being committed. You can refuse a home or property search and should always do so, and immediately contact a criminal defense lawyer to protect your rights should a warrant be issued after you refuse a search with a drug dog.
Drug sniffing dogs are not always right – far from it. If a drug dog alerts at your vehicle, and you are detained for a long period, you may have been a victim of a right violation. The accuracy rate of drug dogs is only about 32 percent. If you are pulled over at a traffic stop, and law enforcement tries to make you wait for a drug dog to arrive, they are violating your rights to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. This was established in the case of Rodriguez v. United States, in which the court ruled:
“Absent reasonable suspicion, police extension of a traffic stop in order to conduct a dog sniff violates the Constitution’s shield against unreasonable seizures.”
Drug Dog Search Leading to an Arrest? Get a Lawyer.
You are protected from illegal search and seizure by the constitution. If it can be proven that you were subjected to an illegal search, the evidence may not be admissible. Any time a person is arrested on a drug crime, overzealous law enforcement officers can overstep the bounds of the law. When this happens, you need a Gillette criminal defense lawyer that is an experienced trial lawyer and can take on the most aggressive prosecutor with confidence and can seek out any legal issue that could reduce the damage to life, and your freedom.
Contact Steven Titus & Associates, P.C. at (307) 257-7800 if you have been arrested and charged after police used a drug dog.
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