Is it Legal for Police Officers in Boise to Call for a Drug Sniffing Dog During a Traffic Stop?

People get pulled over by the police all the time. You could have a headlight out or maybe your registration is expired. Usually, the cop will either give you a warning or write a citation. You can pay the fine and move on with your life. Other times, however, things don’t go so smoothly. If the police decide to call for a K-9 dog, you could be in for a long wait.

The courts in Idaho recently heard a case that specifically asked whether drug sniffing dogs were permitted during a routine traffic stop. After all, if you’re pulled over for running a red light, that doesn’t mean you have drugs in your car. Or, if you’re pulled over for having an expired license, it shouldn’t be an indication that you have drug paraphernalia in your car.

Unfortunately, the rules about when a cop can call for a drug sniffing law are vague. This past spring, the courts in Idaho heard a case that addressed this problem. Sadly, while the court did place certain limitations on what a K-9 officer can and cannot do, they did not make the law any clearer.

If you’ve been arrested for a drug charge after having your car inspected by a drug canine, you should call our office right away. If your Boise criminal defense lawyer can show the stop was unreasonable, you may be able to get your charges reduced or dismissed.

Why Do Police Use K-9 Drug Sniffing Dogs Anyway?

When it comes to detecting whether someone is using or carrying drugs, police officers are trained well. However, the human nose and eye can only detect certain things. If a person hides their drugs in a small section of their car, it may be impossible for the cop to notice it. That’s why they use dogs that have been trained to sniff out drugs. These dogs can detect all sorts of drugs, including methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana. They can also sniff out money that has been handled by people who have touched drugs. In addition, they can detect firearms that may carry the residue of drugs.

When the police suspect that you have drugs in your possession, they may call for a drug sniffing dog. Only K-9 officers have a dog in their vehicle. For the run of the mill patrol officers, they need to call another officer to come help. If you’re pulled over and the cops suspect you’re carrying drugs, they’ll call another officer for backup. This can take quite some time. That’s why the courts recently heard a case that dealt with the issue of how long an officer can make someone wait for the K-9 officer and his dog.

The Idaho Court Has Limited the Length of Time You Can Be Forced to Wait

In May of this year, the courts in Idaho heard a case that dealt with the use of drug sniffing dogs. According to the court, a police officer can certainly call for a K-9 dog if they suspect a driver has drugs in their possession. However, the court stated that they cannot unlawfully prolong a traffic stop in order to call for the dog. The problem is that they didn’t say how long is too long. An officer could make someone wait anywhere from 10 seconds to 20 minutes. The court refused to put a time limit on the duration. That’s why your Boise defense lawyer can challenge your case if you were forced to wait an unfair amount of time for a drug sniffing dog to arrive.

Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer in Boise, Idaho Right Away

If you’re arrested for a drug charge during a routine traffic stop, you should call an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Boise. What starts out as a possible citation for a bad headlight can result in a very lengthy prison sentence. While it is illegal to carry drugs, firearms and paraphernalia in your car, the police still have to follow certain rules. Your Boise criminal defense lawyer can review your case and determine if these rules were followed.

Call our office today and schedule a consultation with one of our seasoned attorneys. They can give you an idea of what you’re up against. They can also talk to the prosecutor about getting your charges reduced or dismissed. There’s simply too much at stake for you to try to handle this on your own.

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