A "Sniffer Dog" or "Drug Detection Dog" is a specially trained canine that uses its natural senses to detect substances such as illegal drugs, explosives, cash, contraband electronics, blood, and other things deemed important to law enforcement. Drug detention dogs usually use their sense of smell in order to detect illegal contraband or explosives. One of the most important qualities of drug detection dogs is that they can discern different senses even if the scents are masked by other odors used to avoid detection by the drug traffickers.
These are specially trained dogs that are considered to be classified as law enforcement officers granting them the same rights and protections under the law. For example, if a violent criminal shoots and injures or kills a drug detection dog, the crime is charged and punished as if the canine were a human law enforcement officer.
There's a lot of criticism concerning drug detection dogs as law enforcement handlers could influence the behaviors and biases of the canines during a sniff inspection. Sniff inspections are used to identify people who may have illicit contraband on themselves or two smith motor vehicles transporting illegal contraband and sniff luggage or packages containing illegal contraband. When drug detection dogs detect illegal contraband, this gives law enforcement "probable cause" to obtain a search warrant of the package, luggage, person, or motor vehicle. Critics of drug-sniffing dogs state that law enforcement was intentionally trying to alert after receiving cues from their handlers in some cases. This caused the officers to conduct an illegal search. Some opponents of drug-sniffing canines believe that if the canines were found to be trained to follow cues and make false alerts that those officers will have violated the Federal Racketeer Influenced and Corruption Organizations Act (RICO). In one case, Norway students had their rights violated by law enforcement, who used drug detection dogs as a ploy to gain access and force the students to answer questions by law enforcement instead.
In an important United States Supreme Court decision in United States v. Place, 462 U.S. 696 (2983), The issue of whether or not drug-sniffing dogs used in public places were an "illegal search "under the fourth amendment to the United States Constitution. Do U.S. Supreme Court decided in the case that the use of a drug-sniffing dog used by law enforcement to detect the smell of illegal narcotics is "sui generis." This means that the dogs used in this manner are only used with the intention to disclose the presence or absence of illegal narcotics. Because this is a performance of such a limited test, do U.S. Supreme Court of the United States permitted this exception from the category "searches, "where a search warrant would generally be required by law enforcement.
The fourth amendment to the United States Constitution was created to protect people from unreasonable searches and seizures concerning their persons, home, papers, and effects. In order for a search warrant to be issued by a court and for law enforcement to be granted the power to seize any property from a citizen, law enforcement must provide the court with "probable cause" that a crime has been committed. However, throughout the years, there have been some exceptions allowing for Search and seizure without probable cars under certain circumstances where there may not be enough time to obtain a warrant. For example, in the case of Terry v. Ohio, the limited detention of an individual could be justified under reasonable suspicion. The warrantless seizure of luggage may also be applied under temporary conditions. However, this is only in cases in which one Forssman officers I've reason a travelers luggage has illegal narcotics inside of the luggage but probable cause has not yet been obtained. In such a case, the court reasons in Terry v. Ohio, that a brief seizure of luggage suspected to contain illegal narcotics is justifiable.
One of the key aspects in determining whether or not a person's fourth amendment rights have been violated is in the processing and conducting of the drug sniff search. For example, if an individual's luggage was seized or set aside for a special drug sniff search, this could violate the individual's Fourth Amendment right. This is because a "search" is defined as an unwarranted intrusion on an individual's reasonable expectation of privacy. Once the lawn Forssman officers separated the suspect's luggage from all the other passenger's luggage, this procedural step became a "Search" and would require A Search Warrant prior to opening the suspect's luggage. These were the circumstances under United States v. Place. This criminal case made its way to the United States Supreme Court and the defendant, Mr. Place, end it in an acquittal once the United States Supreme Court deemed the seizure of Mr. Place's luggage was deemed unreasonable and violated his Fourth Amendment rights.
There are some other issues concerning the use of drug-sniffing dogs that may violate an individual's legal rights. For example, law enforcement is not permitted to walk up and have the dog sniff at your door or enter the front or rear porch of a home without a search warrant.
Another issue that is often questioned by potential clients deals with the issue of traffic stops and drug-sniffing dogs. Generally, the law states that if you've been pulled over for a traffic stop and refuse law enforcement from conducting a search of your vehicle without a warrant, my enforcement cannot hold a driver to wait for a drug-sniffing dog be brought to the scene. The lawn Forssman officers would be required to have probable cause that the driver has committed a crime other than a simple traffic violation. This means law enforcement needs the driver's consent to search their vehicle or permit a drug-sniffing dog to sniff for drugs outside the vehicle. One thing to remember is, if the law enforcement officer is asking for permission to search your vehicle or use a drug-sniffing dog, that officer does not have probable cause, and the officer needs your permission. Most people do not understand the legal rights when it comes to searches of motor vehicles and the use of drug-sniffing dogs. It's very important to understand that law enforcement officers may not search your vehicle or run a drug-sniffing dog along with your vehicle without having probable cause or your consent. However, this may be permitted in certain circumstances, such as at the U.S. borders with Canada or Mexico or in situations where a roadblock has been set up, and it has been determined that enforcement will run a drug dog how long every "nth" car. For example, if law enforcement obtains authorization to run a drug-sniffing dog for every 10th car that passes through the roadblock. The issue is generally when an individual is selected without any reasonable suspicion or probable cause.
In cases of warrantless searches or the use of drug detection dogs, it is important to speak with an experienced drug crimes attorney as quickly as possible. It's important to understand the facts and circumstances surrounding the investigation and arrest of an individual to determine the best approach for defending a client charged with a criminal offense. If you have any questions concerning your criminal case, you can call Musca law 24/7 at 888-484-5057 to speak with one of our experienced Florida Drug Trafficking Defense Attorneys.