Drug Dogs | Florida Tosses Search

Drug Dog Sniff Snuffed
Drug Charge Defense Attorney notes that Drug Dog Sniffs can be both a Search and an illegal seizure. The Florida Supreme Court just ruled on a Dog sniff at a residence. The case involved a Sniff test by a drug detection dog conducted at the front door of a private residence. The court ruled this is a search under the Fourth Amendment. Law enforcement must have probable cause rather than reasonable suspicion like courts have ruled in non-residential (car) cases.

Case Excerpt: "First, the dog “sniff test” that was conducted in the present case was an intrusive procedure. As explained more fully below, the “sniff test” was a sophisticated undertaking that was the end result of a sustained and coordinated effort by various law enforcement agencies. On the scene, the procedure involved multiple police vehicles, multiple law enforcement personnel, including narcotics detectives and other officers, and an experienced dog handler and trained drug detection dog engaged in a vigorous search effort on the front porch of the residence. Tactical law enforcement personnel from various government agencies, both state and federal, were on the scene for surveillance and backup purposes. The entire on-the-scene government activity—i.e., the preparation for the “sniff test,” the test itself, and the aftermath, which culminated in the full-blown search of Jardines‟ home—lasted for hours. The “sniff test” apparently took place in plain view of the general public."


Source: 36 Fla. L. Weekly S147a

Drug Dogs Search and Seizure