Many criminal drug cases begin at a traffic stop sometimes with a dog sniff leading to a search. Another case of a traffic stop leading to drugs being found has made it all the way to United State Supreme Court. This particular traffic stop led to a dog sniff which when the dog supposedly alerted caused the police to search the vehicle, of course drugs were found.
Whether an alert by a dog provides law enforcement with probable cause to search a vehicle has been the source of a lot of litigation. This dog sniff case was out of Florida. The Florida Supreme Court had held that performance records of the dogs are required along with several other records in order for probable cause to search to be had. The United States Supreme Court disagreed and reversed.
Specifically the High Court held that because training records established the drug dog’s reliability in detecting drugs and the defendant failed to undermine that showing, law enforcement had probable cause to search the vehicle. They did not want there to be strict requirements but fell back onto what is referred to as a totality of the circumstances approach. They specifically cited the potential pit falls of relying on field performance as what could be a false positive could also be an alert to residual odors.
This is going to make it more difficult to challenge a search due to a drug dog alert but as with everything, if you or your loved one can afford to, then hire a legal team including an expert to review these training records.
The reason traffic ticket cases are important is because if you can beat the stop then you can have evidence thrown out suppressed or not used in court. That means that you would never have to get to the dog sniff or alert if the stop is bad. At least that would be my argument to the court.
If you or a loved one has any kind of drug case, traffic case or criminal case please click or call today to discuss putting together a legal team to defend your case.