The United States Supreme Court has previously ruled that police do not need reasonable suspicion to use drug dogs to sniff a vehicle during a legitimate traffic stop. Often, a police officer will threaten to “get the dogs” if consent is not given to search the vehicle. In this situation – MAKE THEM GET THE DRUG DOGS. A vast majority of the time they will not be able to secure a police officer qualified to handle the drug dogs in time. In the event they do – you have nothing to gain by making their job easier.
If the drug dogs do come, the police can walk a drug dog around the vehicle during any legitimate traffic stop. If the dog signals that it smells drugs, police then have probable cause to conduct a search. *However, police are not allowed to detain you indefinitely while waiting for drug dogs to arrive. The United States Supreme Court held a detention of 7-8 minutes to wait for a drug dog to arrive violated the 4th amendment (prohibiting unlawful searches and seizures).
In Texas, Courts have ruled that police do not need reasonable suspicion to use drug dogs to sniff a vehicle during a legitimate traffic stop. It authorizes police to walk a drug dog around the vehicle during any legitimate traffic stop. If the dog signals that it smells drugs, police then have probable cause to conduct a search. However, the ruling does not allow police to detain you indefinitely until dogs arrive. The legitimacy of the traffic stop still depends on its duration. Basically, if police can’t bring a dog to the scene in the time it takes to run your tags and write a ticket, the use of the dog becomes constitutionally suspect. So if you’re pulled over and police threaten to call in the dogs, DO NOT give in and consent to a search. By the time the drug dog arrives, it very well may be construed later in court as an unreasonable detention in violation of the 4th amendment. If this is the case, your criminal defense attorney will have strong and legitimate grounds to argue to suppress any unlawfully obtained evidence.
So if you’re pulled over and police threaten to call in the dogs, you are not required to consent to searches. Usually, the officer won’t have a police dog on hand and he needs reasonable suspicion to detain you while waiting for the drug dog. Before the dog arrives, you have the right to determine if you can leave by asking “Officer, am I free to go?” If the officer refuses and detains you until the dogs come, you have the right to remain silent and refuse to consent to any searches. If a dog arrives, you have the right to refuse to consent to a dog sniff, even if the officer claims you have to. Be aware that unlocking your car at the officer’s request or handing the officer your keys is the same as consenting to a search. You always have the right to refuse by stating “Officer, I don’t consent to any searches.” If a judge determines that the officer had no justification to detain you until the dog arrived, any evidence discovered by the dog may be thrown out in court.