A recent Supreme Court ruling could have impacted future drug charges in Texas and throughout the country in cases where drug-sniffing dogs were used during traffic stops.
The Supreme Court ruled that police can continue to use drug-sniffing dogs during traffic stops and if police find a different illegal drug in the vehicle than what the dog is trained to detect, the evidence can still be used against the defendant charged with a drug crime. The justices said that in cases of drug crimes, the courts should continue to apply the same standards for dog sniffs as they do for all issues regarding whether police had probably cause to search a vehicle.
The Supreme Court ruling could have significantly impacted drug cases and Fourth Amendment rights for people charged with a drug crime after being pulled over by police. If the Supreme Court had ruled that police cannot use evidence obtained from a drug-sniffing dog that was not trained to detect the drug found, many drug cases against defendants would not stand up in court.
Instead, the Supreme Court ruling will continue to allow police to use drug-sniffing dogs and if the dog alerts police that there is an illegal substance in the vehicle, the police then have probable cause to search the vehicle.
This was an important ruling by the Supreme Court because it allows the police to continue to use drug-sniffing dogs in traffic stops. Individuals who are pulled over for a traffic offense or other reason may be subjected to drug-sniffing dogs surrounding their vehicle and searching for any illegal substances. If the dog alerts the police, they have probable cause to search your vehicle. In certain cases, this could result in serious drug charges.
Individuals who are facing drug charges should consult a drug violations attorney as possible to protect their rights and understand the charges they are facing.
Source: My San Antonio, "Court says police don't have to prove dog training," Jesse J. Holland, Feb. 19, 2013