Drug Dog Searches

Many drug charges or drug cases in Peoria, Grundy, Putnam, Stark, Livingston, and Marshall Counties originate during a traffic stop where the police utilize a drug sniffing dog to justify the search of a person or of their car. Both the United States Supreme Court and the Illinois Supreme Court have held that a canine sniff to the exterior of a vehicle is not an invasion of a person’s constitutional right to privacy and is therefore not a search for Fourth Amendment purposes.

The drug dog acts as probable cause to search the vehicle that has been stopped; a positive “alert” by a police canine can provide officers with probable cause to search the interior of the vehicle that has been stopped. The admissibility of dog-sniff evidence is very fact specific and it is vital to have the best criminal defense attorney on your side when dealing with a drug sniffing dog case; a criminal lawyer who is well versed in the appellate case law that governs drug dog cases.

The leading case on the admissibility of drug dog search evidence is the United States Supreme Court case, People v. Caballes. The U.S. Supreme Court held that the use of “well-trained” narcotics detection dogs during a routine traffic stop generally does not “implicate legitimate privacy interests”. The U.S. Supreme Court essentially ruled that a “well-trained” drug sniffing dog does provide sufficient probable cause for a search. An issue that is often a factor to consider as to whether a drug dog search is an illegal drug dog search is whether the length or the type of a potential search is reasonable. An additional issue that can be contested is what counts as “well trained”. These are all issues that require the knowledge and experience of a dedicated criminal defense attorney who has experience not only in the courtroom but also in researching and arguing motions to suppress evidence.

I hope that after reading this you have a better understanding of the law of canine searches. If you have further questions, please visit my website at www.il-crimlaw.com and complete my online submission form.


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