Monday, August 6, 2012

Dogs Smell Bad, why this Matters for your Drug Arrest…

Did the police use a dog to sniff out drugs and then arrest you in Las Vegas, Henderson, or Southern Nevada for possession or intent to distribute or sell? 

If so, you should immediately call a Las Vegas criminal defense attorney who has experience with dog sniff drug cases.  Say nothing to the police before, during, or after the arrest.  In fact, say nothing to everyone except your criminal defense attorney.  Failure to remain silent could greatly negatively impact your defense.

Can the police use a drug dog to sniff out narcotics or other contraband? 



Because…under the plain smell doctrine, if contraband can be detected by smell, this provides sufficient cause for the police to conduct a search without a search warrant if exigency so demands.  (Exigency means that the search has to be done now because waiting would cause some problem—i.e. the evidence would disappear).   Often, though, and depending on State or federal law, the police officer will wait for a magistrate to sign a warrant to conduct the search.  The same rules apply if a drug dog detects the odor. The plain smell doctrine is articulated in the United States Supreme Court opinion of Johnson v. United States 333 U.S. 10, 13 (1948).  As you can see, this rule has been around since at least 1948.  It is an extension of the “plain sight rule” which says that evidence indicating a crime has occurred that is in the plain sight of the police officer can be used as evidence even absent a search warrant.

Recently, though, the courts are questioning this police dog plain smell rule.  In California, for instance, a package of marijuana reeked and the police conducted a warrantless search.  Upon conviction for possession, the defendant appealed and now the higher courts are deciding whether the plain smell rule is constitutional and a valid extension of the “plain sight” rule. People v. Robey (S197735). 

Plain smell is more problematic than plain sight. For instance, a package may smell of drugs because it was somewhere that drugs had been, but the package itself contains private belongings of an innocent person.  This is perhaps one of the more compelling reasons to prevent officers from relying on the sense of smell, whether by their own nosy noses or those of their dogs.

Attorney Louis C. Schneider has had recent success in a huge criminal case involving drugs, interstate transport of drugs, and police dog sniffing out drugs.  After rigorously reviewing the evidence, the police procedure, and filing a motion with the criminal court, it was apparent that the police procedure that the police officer and the police dog used was illegal.  Louis Schneider will use the same diligence in reviewing the evidence against you when a police dog results in your arrest for possession of drugs in Las Vegas, Henderson, Clark County, or Southern Nevada.


The information about Las Vegas drug criminal charges contained on this page is not intended to be legal advice about criminal law.  A Las Vegas defense lawyer should always evaluate your criminal law matter as soon as possible.  You should treat your drug charge with the seriousness it requires.  Moreover, the information contained in this blog is not intended to guarantee any result.  Each case is unique and will require special attention by a criminal defense attorney.

When you say, I need a criminal defense lawyer in Las Vegas, call us.

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