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Use of Drug Dogs During Traffic Stops

The Use of Drug Dogs During Traffic Stops | St. Louis Criminal Lawyer

It is constitutionally permissible for a police officer to use trained drug dogs during traffic stops to sniff a vehicle for the presence of drugs. The Supreme Court of the United States has held that the Fourth Amendment does not require reasonable suspicion or probable cause to justify the use of drug-detection dog. However, if the police do not have reasonable suspicion or probable cause, it is improper for officers to extend the duration of the stop beyond the time needed to write the traffic citation. In other words, a police officer cannot issue you a ticket for speeding and then proceed to employ the use of the drug dog. This would unjustifiably enlarge the scope of the traffic stop into a drug investigation. However, even without reasonable suspicion or probable cause, the officer may allow the drug dog to sniff the vehicle while he writes you the citation because this doesn’t enlarge or extend the duration of the traffic stop.

On the other hand, if during a normal traffic stop the officer develops reasonable suspicion based upon specific and articulable facts that the person is involved in drug trafficking, the defendant and automobile may be detained for a reasonable length of time to await the arrival of a drug-sniffing dog. Thus, there must be reasonable suspicion to detain a driver while awaiting a drug dog.

At Henderson & Waterkotte, P.C., our St. Louis, Missouri criminal defense lawyers regularly challenge drug cases on constitutional grounds. Because of our aggressive approach, we have had great success with drug cases involving marijuana, methamphetamine, heroin, crack, cocaine, among others. Call us today to schedule a free consultation if you or a loved one has been charged with a drug crime.