Search and Seizure-Sniff Test by Drug Detection Dogs

Knowing The Law Around K9 Police Dog Sniffing | Florida

In the recent past the requirements for admissible testimony for a K-9 drug detection situation in Florida were extremely basic and with limited parameters. Once a dog was alerted, the testing was normally admissible as long as a few basic rules were followed.

On April 14, 2011 the Florida Supreme court in Jardines vs State changed the face of requirements not only for the identification by the dog but the actual existence of proof before a dog can even be used at a residence for initial detection.

It has been long established that one had the right and expectation of privacy in your home. The use of technology has not been interpreted by the Courts to allow greater intrusion to one’s “castle”. For instance, the use of a thermal imaging unit to detect a grow house will, without further evidence, be considered an unlawful search (see Kyllo v United States 533U.S.27(2001)).

Dog Sniffing & Probable Cause

An expectation of privacy, as guaranteed by the United States and Florida Constitutions allows all to be free from unwarranted and unreasonable governmental intrusions. The government must establish probable cause that facts of a crime or crimes are being perpetrated.

A “dog sniff” is an intrusive procedure and cannot be the basis of probable cause.

The Courts now, even with an acceptable dog sniff, will require proof of the dog’s conditioning and certification programs. The Courts will also require the proof of the dog’s performance. (United States Customs will certify only dogs who achieve and maintain a perfect record). Additionally, the officer will have to demonstrate his own training and knowledge.

The officer will have to prove what the training consists of not just a blanket statement that the dog completed an initial or maintenance training. Currently there is no uniformity in the certification process of drug detection dogs. I submit, the Courts will demand proof in the future before the evidence will be allowed to see the light of day in a trial of this nature.

If you wish further information please do not hesitate to contact our New Port Richey criminal defense office.

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