Are Drug Dogs Used in Searches Reliable? A Miami Criminal Lawyer Explains
The way that a police officer needs to go about handling an arrest is very sensitive and highly complex. There are certain things that a police officer may and may not do and if they don’t follow the precise protocol then the results from their actions may include the case being thrown out of court.
These rules are here to protect us from being unfairly prosecuted and it’s very important that we know our rights going into any criminal case. That’s why it’s so valuable to have the help of a Miami criminal lawyer who can advise you on the best ways to proceed and whether or not there is in fact a strong case against you.
For example, in Miami and across Florida, it is common to see drug dogs (K-9s) used in drug searches. These dogs have been trained to detect the odor of marijuana, cocaine and a range of other drugs. They can be used to detect drugs and then to search for them.
It is highly important that the dogs themselves and the police that handle them are thoroughly trained and certified in order to ensure that they are qualified to accurately detect the odor of drugs. If they do not meet such requirements, then a Miami criminal defense attorney might be able to help you avoid criminal charges.
According to research, it appears that many dogs are actually not qualified as they should be and this then calls into question their reliability. After all, a police officer should not stop and search an individual unless they have a compelling reason to suspect they are engaging in a crime. If the dog should detect a ‘false positive’, then this might lead to someone being seized and searched without just cause. It might also mean that they end up being questioned or arrested when there is no valid reason for this.
In what we call a ‘traffic stop’ scenario, a Miami cop may pull a driver over for a traffic violation. During this process, they might notice indications of drug possession, in which case they may call for a drug dog. This dog will then be walked around the perimeter to smell for odors.
If there is no probable cause to believe that there are drugs in the vehicle, then the drug search should be conducted while the driver is being given their ticket for their moving violation. That also means that once the ticket has been written, the driver should be free to leave and can’t be ordered to stay in order for the drug dog search to be completed.
This is another potential violation that a Miami criminal lawyer can help to identify.
Note as well that the police officer should only have the right to search the vehicle if the dog indicates the presence of drugs during the search. Seeing as the drug dogs may be unreliable – and may have as little as a 50% success rate – this introduces some problems. Miami criminal defense lawyers are now in the process of checking the success and failure rates of these cases, to see just how reliable they truly are and therefore to judge the evidence being used.
Stroleny Law, P.A. handles a variety of criminal law cases, so call now if you have any questions.
View more contact information here: Miami Criminal Lawyer.