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Drug Sniffing Dog Laws in Illinois

May 9th, 2016 at 8:35 am

Illinois drug sniffing dog laws, Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense AttorneyCriminal defendants can end up facing drug charges as a result of detective work done by a drug sniffing dog. Drug sniffing dogs comprise one of Illinois law enforcement’s most useful resources when it comes to finding drugs. These dogs are highly trained to find all kinds of drugs, from marijuana to heroin. Illinois drug sniffing dogs have to go through a rigorous training program and must obtain certification and recertification every year.

The United States Supreme Court has consistently held that a dog sniff is not a search within the parameters of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. However, when a dog is deployed for a sniff at a person’s private home, the dog, and law enforcement, enter into Fourth Amendment territory. Hence, they must execute a search of a person’s home with a drug sniffing dog in accordance with the law.

Drug Sniffing Dogs and Traffic Stops

According to the United States Supreme Court ruling in Illinois v. Caballes, drug sniffing dogs can be used as part of a traffic stop without reasonable suspicion, so long as the dog’s use will not prolong the length of the stop. If the dog is already at the traffic stop, then the dog can be used; however, police cannot indefinitely detain a stopped driver if the dog has to be called in to do a sniff. Police can walk a dog that is on-site around a legally stopped vehicle and if the dog signals the presences of drugs, then police have probable cause to conduct a search of the vehicle. Yet making you wait for a drug dog to show up to do a sniff can be a violation of your Fourth Amendment rights. The time that is “too long” to wait for a drug dog is approximately the length of time it takes to run your plates and driver’s license and issue you a ticket, according to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Rodriguez v. United States.

Drug Sniffing Dogs at Your Home

Law enforcement cannot use drug sniffing dogs around your home without having probable cause and a search warrant, or your consent under the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Florida v. Jardines. To say this another way, a drug dog cannot be used to detect the presence of drugs and thus create the probable cause necessary to get a search warrant to conduct a search of the property. The curtilage, or area that immediately surrounds a person’s home, is considered to be a part of the home itself. For Fourth Amendment purposes, the curtilage of a home is the same as the home.

In order for a drug dog to get a good sniff of a home, the dog would have to be close to the home—i.e., in the vicinity of the curtilage of the home. Conducting a sniff without probable cause or a warrant so close to the home is considered an illegal search of the home itself.

When You Need Guidance On Your Drug Charges

If you are facing drug charges, but are concerned that your rights were violated by law enforcement during a search or during your arrest, you should discuss your concerns with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Do not hesitate to reach out to a Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney at our office. We will provide you with exceptional representation throughout each step of your case.

Sources:

https://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/03-923.ZO.html

https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/fourth_amendment

http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/13-9972_p8k0.pdf

http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/11-564_5426.pdf

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