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Any drug lawyer worth his or her pay knows that the Fourth Amendment is the central issue in any interstate drug stop case. That means the government has to show that the proof secured from every aspect of the traffic stop– the questioning, search, detention, and the stop itself– have to be appropriate when used to confirm the defendant’s guilt. Potential cause should be determined to believe that a traffic violation happened or that there was a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.

In many cases, a drug lawyer can competently contend that the police officer misjudged and did not have possible reason to stop the motor vehicle, since the driver’s conduct did not make up a traffic violation– though most of the time, the event is recorded on the police officer car’s front dashboard video, however, what happens after the stop may seep into more of a grey area. The individual that was stopped could have gone through unnecessary questioning and unnecessary and unlawful detainment during a minor traffic violation. Here are some good examples of how cops make the most of motorists and make use of sleazy approaches to acquire information and evidence.

Invalid Consent

Most of the time, New Mexico police officers will ask the driver for approval to search the automobile. If the cops do not get the consent they are seeking, a drug dog will often be called to smell the air around the motor vehicle so as to give them plausible trigger to conduct a search. Illegal detention takes place if the policeman does not have sensible suspicion to detain the motorist until the drug canine comes.

The Unlawful Search

Even though law enforcement has fair enough suspicion to detain the driver, this does not mean that they have potential cause to search. The policeman may ask the driver’s companion for permission to search their bags, and when the companion alone gives permission, but the police officer proceeds to search the vehicle driver’s bags in the absence of his or her permission.

Unlawful Detention

Police can not unreasonably detain a person in the middle of a regular traffic stop, and once it is finished, the driver is able to leave. The only time police can arrest a person is if they have realistic suspicion to believe that criminal activity is afoot or have probable cause to arrest. Often times a policeman will ask many points during the traffic stop to create suspicion, including questioning every person in the car what their plans are.

If police have reasonable suspicion that the driver or other passengers are involved in criminal activity, they may detain all the occupants in the car and demand a drug canine to create probable cause to search– but the duration of the detention must be reasonable. The real question becomes whether the policeman had reasonable suspicion to detain initially. Often times, the police officer’s hunch might be opposed in court.

If a valid consent to search is not given or probable cause is not established, police will more than likely call the drug canine to the scene to sniff the automobile. Though trained extremely well, drug canines are not always precise. In many cases, the evidence obtained by using a drug canine may be suppressed if the animal is found being unreliable or found to have not indicated drugs.

Drug dogs trained in New Mexico are used as passive indicators, meaning that when the animal walks around the car it will seek out the source of contraband. It will then show an interest in what handlers pertain to as an “alert.” The dog takes a seat at the location where the odor is the strongest, as a kind of indication. It can be proven occasionally that the dog did not take a seat or was either intentionally or unintentionally cued by the dog handler.

Dog Training

It must be established that the dog’s ability to sniff contraband is reliable and that it gave probable cause to search. Often times, it is very useful for the defense to hire expert witnesses to help analyze data to provide an outside perspective. Through this method, it may be determined about whether the canine was efficiently trained.

The Inherent Unreliability of a Drug Dog

Drug dogs are trained to signal to the odor of narcotics, but sometimes they can wrongly indicate an odor where no drugs are present because they are only indicating the presence of a smell. If a drug dog alerts to the odor of marijuana, it could be that a person riding in the vehicle smoked marijuana and had the scent on their clothing. On the contrary, if it has been shown through other cases that the dog was accurate in the past, the dog will likely be found reliable by court.

Other Probable Cause

Another reason for a possible cause to search is if the driver states that he only has a personal amount of marijuana. The cop then may search the entire vehicle for admitting to that personal use. In the past, New Mexico law enforcement has been shown to badger drivers regarding their personal marijuana use so relentlessly that their Fifth Amendment rights of protection against self-incrimination were in jeopardy. In this case, their drug attorney can have the statement effectively thrown out as evidence.


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