Searches by K9 Drug Units in Utah

Dog Sniff Searches | Criminal Defense

If you live in Utah and are driving on Utah’s highways, or if you live in another state and are simply passing through Utah, be careful about violating any traffic rule.

Utah Highway Patrol loves to pull people over for following too close to another vehicle and speeding.  UHP then uses such stops as a reason to search the stopped car for drugs and other contraband.  One tool used extensively by UHP is the drug sniffing dog or drug K9 unit.

Laws Governing Searches by Drug Sniffing Dogs

In Utah a law enforcement officer can use his drug sniffing dog to walk the perimeter of a car even if the officer has no reasonable suspicion that the vehicle occupants are engaged in a drug crime so long as the dog sniff search does not extend the duration of the stop.  What exactly does this mean?

If you are stopped for speeding or following too close, the police has conducted a lawful stop.  The police, however, can only detain you as long as it takes to conduct the purpose of the stop.  Thus, if you are pulled over for speeding the police can detain you long enough to run your license and registration and issue you a speeding ticket.  If the police detain you after issuing you a speeding ticket in order to use a k9 drug unit that stop has then become unlawful.

Salcido Law Firm Will Evaluate Your Drug Case

If your car was searched by a k9 unit, contact the law firm of Salcido Law Firm to obtain the legal advice you need to successfully challenge the search and seizure. Our Utah criminal defense lawyers have vast experience in successfully challenging such searches.

For more information or to schedule a free consultation, please contact us at 801.618.1334 or email us anytime.

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