If you are stopped by the police, one thing you should be aware of is that there may be a police dog on site, too. In some cases, the police will bring out the dog to sniff around a vehicle during a routine traffic stop.
Some people may feel that this is invasive, but in reality, it is usually acceptable. It typically does not violate a person’s Fourth Amendment rights to allow a drug-search dog to sniff around the vehicle. This is because there has been a United States Supreme Court decision in the case of Rodriguez versus the United States that found that people don’t have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the air around their vehicles.
K9s can be present at any traffic stop
As a result of that decision, it’s possible for K9s to be present at any traffic stop, though they are usually not. If one is brought out to sniff around your vehicle during the normal course of the traffic stop, this won’t usually be considered as a violation of your rights.
If the K9 does alert the officer that there are drugs inside the vehicle, then that could be enough to constitute probable cause to search the vehicle.
What is the “normal course of business” during a traffic stop?
Put plainly, the dog may sniff around the vehicle while the officer is speaking with the driver, running a license check, writing a warning or citation or participating in other general tasks associated with the stop. As long as the K9 doesn’t prolong the length of the stop, then it’s typically accepted as a normal part of a traffic stop.
If you are stopped by the police and the police K9 is on the scene, know that there are some times when it’s reasonable for the dog to sniff and do its job. If the stop has concluded and the police stop you again for a further search, then that may be a violation depending on if there was reasonable suspicion or probable cause for the second stop. You may want to look into your rights and the procedural requirements of this kind of stop if you feel it was a violation of your rights.