Any drug lawyer worthy of their grain of salt understands that the Fourth Amendment is the main issue in any interstate drug stop case. That means the government must show that the evidence secured from every part of the traffic stop– the questioning, search, detention, and the stop itself– have to be legal and lawful when used to affirm the defendant’s guilt. Potential cause should be determined to establish that a traffic violation took place or that there was a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.
There are some cases where a drug lawyer can efficiently contend that the policeman made an error and did not have probable cause to stop the car, because the driver’s conduct did not establish a traffic offense– though most of the time, the event is tape-recorded on the police officer car’s front dash video camera. What happens after the stop may be seen as a grey area.The individual that was stopped could have undergone pointless questioning and unnecessary and unauthorized detention during a minor traffic violation. Here are some examples of how cops make the most of motorists and use sleazy methods to procure information and evidence.
Oftentimes, Kansas police officers will ask the driver for authorization to search the automobile. If the cops do not get the consent they are seeking, a drug dog will often be called to smell the air around the automobile so as to provide them potential trigger to conduct a search. Unlawful detention occurs if the policeman does not have sensible suspicion to detain the motorist until the drug dog comes.
The Unlawful Search
Though law enforcement has sufficient enough suspicion to detain the driver, this does not mean that they have possible cause to search.The officer may ask the driver’s companion for permission to search their bags, and when the companion alone gives permission, but the officer proceeds to search the driver’s bags without his permission this can be considered as unlawful search for the driver.
Police can not unreasonably detain a person in the middle of a regular traffic stop, and once it is complete, the motorist is permitted to leave. The only time police can arrest a person is if they have reasonable suspicion to believe that criminal activity is in progress or have potential cause to arrest. Often a police officer will ask many points during the traffic stop to build suspicion, including questioning everyone in the vehicle what their travel itineraries are.
If police have reasonable suspicion that the driver or other passengers are involved in criminal activity, they may detain all the occupants in the vehicle and call for a drug dog to create probable cause to search– but the duration of the detention must be reasonable. The real question becomes whether the policeman had reasonable suspicion to detain initially. Many times, the officer’s hunch could be contended in court.
If valid consent to search is not provided or probable cause is not established, police will most likely get the drug canine to the scene to smell the vehicle. Though trained extremely well, drug canines are not always correct. In many cases, the evidence acquired by using a drug dog may be suppressed if the animal is found to be unreliable or found to have not identified drugs.
Drug dogs trained in Kansas are used as passive indicators, which means that when the dog walks around the car it will look for the source of contraband. It will then show an interest in what handlers refer to as an “alert.” The dog sits down at the location where the odor is the strongest. In some cases, it can be proven that the dog did not sit down or was either intentionally or unintentionally cued by the handler.
It must be established that the dog’s sense of smell is reliable and that it gave probable cause to search. Often times, it is very useful for the defense to work with expert witnesses to help analyze data to provide an outside perspective. Through this method, it may be identified about whether the canine was effectively trained.
The Inherent Unreliability of a Drug Dog
Drug dogs are trained to signal handlers at the the smell of narcotics, but often they can wrongly indicate an odor where no drugs are present because they are only indicating the presence of an odor. If a drug dog alerts to the smell of marijuana, it could be that a person riding in the vehicle smoked marijuana and had the scent linger on their clothing. On the contrary, if it has been shown through other cases that the dog was accurate in the past, the dog will likely be found credible by court.
Other Probable Cause
Another reason for a possible cause to search is if the driver states that he only has a personal amount of marijuana. The cop then may search the entire vehicle for admitting to that personal use. In the past, Kansas law enforcement has been shown to badger drivers regarding their personal marijuana use so relentlessly that their Fifth Amendment rights of protection against self-incrimination were placed in jeopardy. In this case, their drug attorney can have the statement effectively tossed out as evidence.
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