A recent Supreme Court decision has determined that making someone wait to be searched by a drug dog without reasonable suspicion is a violation of the Fourth Amendment. Attorney Peter M. Liss is here to help you understand what that means when it comes to your rights on the road.
Essentially, the court’s decision says that when you are stopped by the police, the officer can write you a ticket for what he or she pulled you over for, but cannot detain you beyond that without reasonable suspicion. That detainment includes asking you to wait for a drug dog to sniff around your car. Of course, being subjected to a search by a drug dog does not automatically mean your rights were violated -that’s why you should always talk to your attorney as soon as possible if you have been arrested.
If you are pulled over by the police, be sure to follow these instructions we have previously written about DUI traffic stops. Most importantly, remember that the police cannot search your car (even with a drug dog) unless they have reason suspicion or unless you give them permission. They will often ask you casually if they can let a drug dog sniff around your car, but saying yes does constitute permission. If police have reasonable suspicion for a search, they won’t ask for permission, so if they ask you, the answer should always be “no.”
The Supreme Court’s decision was based on the use of drug dogs at traffic stops, but it can be applied to any type of detainment. When an officer issues you a ticket and tries to detain you in any way, whether by asking you questions, requesting you take a sobriety test, seeing if he or she can search your car or asking permission for a dog to sniff around your car, ask if you are being detained or if you are free to go. Without reasonable suspicion, a police officer cannot detain you. By giving him or her any additional time and not leaving when you are free to go, you are risking him or her finding evidence that could result in your being charged with an additional crime.
When police do search your car or request a drug dog sniff around your car without permission, do whatever you can to remember what happened during the interaction -including the times they started searching your car, when they finished searching it, and, if a drug dog had to be brought to the scene to sniff around your car, how long it took for the dog to get there. Try to get the officer’s badge numbers if possible. These factors can all be important in determining that the police violated your Fourth Amendment rights and could end up providing your lawyer with the necessary ammo to have the charges against you dropped or the evidence against you suppressed.
If your rights were violated during a traffic stop, Peter M. Liss can help. Please call (858) 486-3024 or (760) 643-4050 to schedule a free initial consultation where you can discuss your case.
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