Is a K-9 Drug Dog Sniff Search an Illegal Search?
- July 15, 2021 4:06 pm
- Written by admingl
- Categories: Crimes | Drugs | Evidence | Legal Advice | Police | Practice Areas | Probable Cause | Unreasonable Search & Seizure
With the increased use of K-9 units in searches, many Florida residents have questions regarding their rights when it comes to ‘nosy’ police dogs during searches and seizures.
Under the 4th Amendment, US citizens have rights regarding protection from ‘unreasonable search and seizure’.
It could be argued that a drug detection dog or K-9 unit may violate such rights. If this is found to be the case in court, a motion to suppress any evidence discovered by the K-9 may be filed.
However, this is a legal grey area of contention and may need to be argued in court. That said, law enforcement are still required to conduct a constitutional search and seizure and procedural failures prior to releasing a K-9 could invalidate any findings of the K-9 unit.
For example, law enforcement are required to have ‘reasonable suspicion’ in order to pull a suspect over. If they fail to demonstrate probable cause, they need to have your permission to search the vehicle, including allowing the drug-sniffing dog to nose around the outside of your vehicle.
Similarly, case docket Florida v. Jardines asserts that an officer needs probable cause prior to bringing a K-9 unit onto your porch or up to your front door. Due to enhanced protection and an expectation of privacy when in your own home, these rights extend to what is known as the ‘curtilage’ or immediate areas outside of your home (such as gardens or porches).