Is it Legal for Police to Use a Drug-Sniffing Dog During a Traffic Stop

joliet drug lawyerIt is widely known that dogs have a much more sophisticated olfactory system that humans do. Their sense of smell is anywhere between 10,000 and 100,000 times better than that of humans, so it makes sense that dogs are used in a variety of different professions. Some of the most well-known working dogs are those that are used to help police officers detect and locate illicit drugs. It is not uncommon for police to use a drug-sniffing dogduring traffic stops but does that mean it is legal?

Fourth Amendment Rights

The biggest concern with the use of drug-sniffing dogs is infringing on individual’s rights given by the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Fourth Amendment states that U.S. citizens have the right to be secure against “unreasonable searches and seizures” of their “persons, houses, papers and effects.” The Amendment also states that a warrant brought about by probable cause should be used to justify any search or seizure of their assets.

Supreme Court Decisions

With the use of drug-sniffing dogs, the U.S. Supreme Court and Illinois Supreme Court have examined many cases. In Illinois v. Caballes, the Illinois Supreme Court determined that Fourth Amendment rights are not violated when police use drug-sniffing dogs during a legal traffic stop. This is because drug-sniffing dogs are only trained to detect the presence of illegal items, which citizens have no legitimate privacy interest.

The court also ruled that the use of a drug-sniffing dog during a traffic stop is only legal if the dog can complete his or her duty in a reasonable amount of time. The police officer is not permitted to detain a person for any longer than it is needed to complete normal traffic stop procedures, such as running verifications on the validity of the driver’s license and insurance information. The officer must have additional probable cause to detain until a drug-sniffing dog arrives, or the evidence obtained as the result of the sniff could be dismissed by the court.

A Joliet, IL Drug Crimes Defense Attorney Can Answer Your Questions

Police have been using drug-sniffing dogs for decades, and the dogs have proven to be useful companions, but there are concerns that can arise when dogs are used during a traffic stop. If you are facing drug charges as a result of a drug-sniffing dog, you should immediately contact a Will County drug crimes defense lawyer. At the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba, P.C., we can help you determine whether or not your traffic stop was warranted and whether or not the use of the police dog was illegal or not. Call our office today at 815-740-4025 to schedule your free consultation.

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