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Drug cases can be extremely tough, and that’s why you absolutely need to get a knowledgeable Iowa drug lawyer, to actually help you beat your case. Drug traffic stop and search cases can be especially complicated. If you have been arrested for drugs on the road and a drug sniffing dog was involved, you possibly want to know what rules and regulations officers need to observe.

Traffic Stops and Reasonable Suspicion

Right before searching a motor vehicle, the officer must absolutely have what is determined as probable cause, indicating that their belief that a crime has occurred should be sustained by proof. The proof would be physical, details from witnesses, or the officer’s own observations, but must go further than simple suspicion. In fact, the first hearing is described as “probable cause hearing,” and is particularly made to examine the evidence for any probable cause scenarios.

In these procedures, it will be validated if the policeman had probable cause, the notion that a crime transpired or was occurring, or reasonable suspicion, giving the officer the right to apprehend and inspect the suspect. But really, neither probable cause nor reasonable suspicion is required to call on a drug sniffing dog to the place during a standard traffic stop. This was established by the Supreme Court in Illinois v. Caballes, wherein Roy Caballes was pulled over for speeding and consequently arrested for marijuana trafficking soon after a drug dog was taken to the scene and alerted on his car.

In a 6-2 ruling, the Court agreed with the state, with Justice John Paul Stevens writing that drug sniffing canine searches did not defy Fourth Amendment rights. He felt that the expectation of privacy did not extend to illegal narcotics. Here in this case, any positive signal may be considered probable cause to do a search. If the drug canine signals that it detects drugs, the arresting officer then has probable cause to perform a search.

You do, nonetheless, have some proper protection in this scenario; for instance, an officer cannot detain you indefinitely, or perhaps for an unreasonable amount of time while waiting for the drug canine to arrive. Simply speaking, if the arresting policeman can not produce the drug dog to the scene while it takes to run your tags and write a ticket, the utilization of the dog becomes constitutionally suspect.

So if you are pulled over and the policeman threatens to call for the K-9 unit, you are not obliged to say yes to searches. While waiting on the dog to appear, you likewise deserve to establish if it is proper for you to leave by straightly asking if you are free to leave. If the officer rejects and moves ahead to detain you until the dogs appear, you have the right to remain silent and proceed to refuse to consent to a dog sniff, even if the police officer says you should consent.

You should know that opening your automobile for the police officer or handing over your keys is the same as approval. If a judge decides that the police officer had no reason to detain you, any evidence found by drug dog may perhaps be tossed out in court.

The Reliability of Drug Sniffing Dogs

For actually hundreds of years, dogs have been used by humans for their spectacular sense of smell, as their noses contain more than 200 million receptors (as compared to the 10 million humans possess). Several breeds even have the impressive ability to recognize particular odors of things which are totally submerged in water, which is very important for law enforcement since drug smugglers commonly try and hide the smell of drugs with some other substance.

This is not to say that a dog’s sense of smell is infallible, and the accuracy and reliability of many drug sniffing dogs have been cast doubt on in court. The American Society of Canine Trainers (ASCT) even admits to the surprisingly poor accuracy rates of drug sniffing dogs, pointing out averages as low as 62 % (Currency Searches, 2015).

There are many reasons and variables for this staggeringly low accuracy rate. Sometimes a trained drug dog’s nose is even too strong, and may lead to the detection of trace scents left behind by drugs which are no longer actually present. It should also be considered that there is a notable difference between what a dog can do, versus what a dog actually does. What the dog actually does is almost completely dependent on the training received, for which there are no required national standards for certification. Furthermore, no matter how effective or ineffective a dog may really be, it is competent of acting on its own behalf and therefore, it may be almost impossible to ascertain the motivation for any particular response.

Certainly we would like to believe that these animals are selfless and devoted to satisfying their handlers, yet that in itself could be problematic. Dog handlers can accidentally cue alerts from their dogs by leading them too slowly or too many times around a car.

Contact Iowa Drug Attorney

Never assume that just because police are in a position of power, they are always right. If you feel you were subjected to a wrongful drug search, you deserve to have the issue looked into by an experienced Iowa drug attorney.


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