The use of a drug dog can be done without any reason to believe that drugs are in the car.
A law enforcement agency may have a drug dog or K9 unit that is used to circle a stopped vehicle and sniff the air outside the vehicle. This is considered by the courts as "free air" and the occupants of the vehicle do not have an expectation of privacy in this "free air."
The dog sniff can be done by the police without having reasonable suspicion of the presence of drugs and the use of the drug dog does not constitute a search and therefore can be done without a warrant or under any of the exceptions to a vehicle search.
This use of a drug dog can be done without any reason to believe that drugs are in the car. The police can use the dog when they know that an occupant has a history of drug activity.
There are three remaining requirements:
- The vehicle cannot be illegally stopped or detained.
- occupants have no legitimate privacy interest in the drugs.
- The drug sniffing dog must alert or indicate the presence of drugs.
The police must be able to prove that the dog has been trained, was successful in the training and has a record of being accurate a substantial number of times. The issue may become whether the dog can be considered to be accurate and reliable and what action by the dog indicated an "alert."
If you have been charged, don't delay, call me immediately (970-871-7400).
"Over the last fourteen years, I have tried more jury trials than any practicing attorney in the 14th Judicial District (Routt County, Moffat County, and Grand County Colorado including Steamboat Springs, Craig, and Hot Sulphur Springs) with consistent success."
-- Larry D. Combs