Challenging a Canine Search in Georgia
How Can I Challenge a Canine Search?
If you are stopped by the police on a highway, you might find your car being subjected to a canine search.
In Georgia, it has become very common for police officers to send for a canine unit to do a drug search, which is called a free air search. This is especially true around interstates. However, you have certain rights when it comes to a canine search and you can challenge the legality of the search if these rights are violated.
Canine Stops and the Courts
First of all, the courts have made it clear that a canine search cannot unreasonably delay the traffic stop. If you are stopped for speeding and the officer checks your driver’s license as part of that stop, then a canine search must occur pretty soon thereafter or it violates your Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures.
It would be unlawful for a police officer to detain you for any length of time while the canine unit arrives or while the search is conducted. The courts have held a 15-minute delay to be unlawful.
Secondly, remember that you have the right to refuse a canine search. If the officer asks you whether you consent to a search, you should always say no.
They will often say things like “I smell a little bit of marijuana, just let me search the car before you go.” This is an attempt to get you to consent to a search. If you do consent, it is very difficult to challenge the search results later.
Challenging The Search In Your Case
If you are subjected to a canine search, you need a good attorney to help you fight it in court. Give us a call at The Turner Firm to find out how we can help you.