Legal For Your Car To Be Sniffed

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New York state’s highest court recently ruled in two separate cases that police may use drug-detecting dogs to sniff a car stopped for a routine traffic ticket. The court was sharply divided (4-3) and the majority qualified its decision by restricting it to circumstances where the police officer suspects other criminal activity.

For civil libertarians, this is a troubling decision. In one case, the driver was pulled over for talking on a cell phone without a hands-free device and was unable to produce a license or registration. It seems a stretch that such conduct would warrant such an invasive search. Indeed, none of these charges is a crime, just a violation.

In the second case, an SUV was pulled over for failing to have a front plate, the driver was “fidgety” and his passenger told an “implausible” story about where they were going. Again, a missing front plate is not criminal so the decision is curious.

The three dissenting judges wrote that a “reasonable suspicion” that the vehicle contained drugs should be required before bringing in a canine.

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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Just curious,based on what law police have a right to ask you “where you going”or “where you have been” isn’t that personal matter ,sometimes feel just not willing to answer this question ,how troubling this may be ,this question always makes me very uncomfortable even I have nothing to hide nor cover ,

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