The introduction of drug dogs to search vehicles is a relatively recent development in the war on drugs. Nonetheless, using dogs as a tool to detect drugs has become more and more common. However, drivers need to be aware of their rights when it comes to traffic stops and drug-sniffing dogs.
Police officers only may stop a vehicle if they have reasonable suspicion to believe that a driver has committed a crime. Often, this alleged crime is some traffic violation. However, even a legitimate traffic stop does not automatically give police the right to search your vehicle. You have a Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.
For police to legally search your vehicle, you either must give consent to the search, or they must have reasonable suspicion to believe that you have committed a crime. The crime must be some offense other than the traffic violation that the police stopped you for in the first place. You should understand that under no circumstances are you required to consent to police searching your vehicle. Once you give your consent, they legally can search your car. If police then find anything illegal in your vehicle, you could face other criminal charges.
If a police officer pulls you over for speeding and has a reasonable suspicion that you may be carrying drugs, then the officer can delay you long enough to bring in a drug-sniffing dog. This sort of delay and resulting search by a drug-sniffing dog does not violate your Fourth Amendment rights. The immigration attorneys of Peek & Toland have the experience that you need when you are seeking any relief or benefit under federal immigration laws. We will determine the facts and evidence that are relevant to your case, evaluate your options, and help you decide the best course of action for your situation. We intend to place you in the best position possible to achieve your goals. Contact our Texas immigration attorneys at our office today and learn how we can assist you through this complicated situation.