Can Evidence Found Through Dog Sniff Car Search (Without Reasonable Suspicion) Be Used In Court ?
In Illinois v. Caballes, 543 U.S. 405, 160 L. Ed. 2d 842, 125 S. Ct. 834 (2005), the United States Supreme Court held that a dog sniff of a vehicle in the absence of a reasonable articulable suspicion of any other illegal activity did not change the character of the traffic stop that was lawful in its inception and otherwise conducted in a reasonable manner, unless the dog sniff itself infringed on the defendant's constitutionally protected interest in privacy. Caballes, 543 U.S. at 408, 160 L. Ed. 2d at 847, 125 S. Ct. at 837.
The Court pointed out that as there is no legitimate interest in possessing contraband, governmental conduct that only reveals the possession of contraband "'compromises no legitimate privacy interest.'" Caballes, 543 U.S. at 408, 160 L. Ed. 2d at 847, 125 S. Ct. at 837, quoting United States v. Jacobsen, 466 U.S. 109, 123, 80 L. Ed. 2d 85, 101, 104 S. Ct. 1652, 1662 (1984).
The Court noted that a dog sniff is "sui generis," because it "'discloses only the presence or absence of narcotics, a contraband item.'" Caballes, 543 U.S. at 409, 160 L. Ed. 2d at 847, 125 S. Ct. at 838, quoting United States v. Place, 462 U.S. 696, 707, 77 L. Ed. 2d 110, 121, 103 S. Ct. 2637, 2644 (1983).
The Court found that use of a dog sniff, which did not expose noncontraband items that would otherwise remain hidden from public view, during a lawful traffic stop, generally did not implicate any legitimate privacy interests.
Where the dog sniff was performed on the exterior of the defendant's car while he was lawfully stopped for a traffic offense, it did not rise to the level of a constitutionally cognizable infringement. Caballes, 543 U.S. at 409, 160 L. Ed. 2d at 847, 125 S. Ct. at 838.