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The Use of Drug Dogs in Texas Cases

Drug dogs are canines that are used to help sniff out illegal narcotics. They are frequently used by the DEA in drug busts. The Supreme Court ruled in the case Illinois vs. Caballes that police do not need reasonable suspicion to use drug dogs to sniff a vehicle during a traffic stop. This means that the police do not need to have a reason to suspect that there are drugs in your vehicle in order to use the dogs. However, the use of drug dogs often correlates with the legitimacy of the traffic stop.

For example, if you are pulled over in a traffic stop, and there is a dog present that smells drugs, then the police have reasonable cause at that point to search your vehicle. On the other hand, if you are pulled over for speeding and there is not a dog at the scene, the police normally don't have the ability to call in a dog. If the police can't bring a dog to the scene in the time that it takes to run your tags and write you a ticket for another offense, then the use of the dogs may become constitutionally suspect. If you are pulled over and the police threaten to call in the dogs, you are not required to consent to the search.

If you are pulled over and the police decide to call in a dog, you have the right to politely ask the officer if you are free to go. If he says that you are not, then you can politely state that you will not consent to any searches. If the police insist, then you should continue to refuse. Even if the search is conducted, the judge in court may determine that the officer had no right to detain you until the dog arrived and any evidence that was discovered in the search may be thrown out. Contact a drug defense lawyer in Texas today to learn more!