Court Finds Drug Sniffing Dog Provided Probable Cause To Search

Our Highways are constantly patrolled by CHP and other police that sometimes have dogs with them that are used in drug interdiction. In one recent case our Courts found that the “alert” of a drug detection dog during a traffic stop provides probable cause to search a vehicle. The defendant’s truck was pulled over by a deputy sheriff because his license plate was expired. The officer observed that Harris appeared nervous and he saw an open can of beer in the truck. Harris refused to consent to a search. A canine officer was brought to the suspects truck and alerted on the vehicle. Based on the alert the sheriff concluded he had probable cause to search the truck for drugs. The search yielded methamphetamine manufacturing components; not drugs the dog was trained to detect. Harris was charged with possession of pseudoephedrine for use in manufacturing methamphetamine. The defendant’s motion to suppress the evidence was denied at trial and affirmed on appeal. The state Supreme Court reversed finding lack of probable cause because the State failed to present adequate data regarding the dog’s training, experience, and certification. An appeal to the highest Court was granted and the Justices reversed the lower Court. The strict evidentiary checklist fashioned by the state court is the antithesis of the “totality of the circumstances” test. “[E]vidence of a dog’s satisfactory performance in a certification or training program” may show reliability and establish probable cause. The adequacy of such training and/or certification or the circumstances of a particular alert may be the subject of cross-examination by the defendant. The trial court should examine all of the circumstances surrounding the dog’s alert to determine whether a reasonably prudent person would believe that a search would reveal evidence of a crime. “A sniff is up to snuff when it meets that test” as it did here. According to Kern County DUI Lawyer, Bruce Blythe, this type of procedure is utilized often. Many agencies in California use drug sniffing dogs for motorists pulled over for suspected drunk driving. The Court’s ruling will be used in many proceedings in the future.

One Response to Court Finds Drug Sniffing Dog Provided Probable Cause To Search

  1. electric radiator running costs says:

    whoah this weblog is magnificent i really like reaing your articles.

    Keep uup the good work! You realize, a lot of people
    are searching round for this information, you can aid them greatly.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: