Authorities in Indiana and around the country often use dogs as a tool to find evidence of drugs in a vehicle. In the event that a drug dog alerts an officer to the presence of a controlled substance, that officer generally has probable cause to search your vehicle. Furthermore, they might also have the right to search a backpack, briefcase or other items inside of the car.
Drug dogs aren’t always accurate
As with humans, dogs can be trained to give the answers that a police officer might be looking for. In many cases, they are given food, pats on the head or time with their favorite toy if they perform a specific act that alerts their handlers to the presence of controlled substances. Therefore, it’s possible that a drug dog is simply doing what the officer wants in exchange for a treat as opposed to finding evidence of marijuana, cocaine or other contraband.
A criminal law attorney will likely point this out before or during your trial in an effort to get a drug charge against you dismissed. Your attorney may also point to an inaccurate test result during an appeal if you are ultimately convicted of a drug crime.
The hazards of a false positive
There is a chance that you could be taken into custody and charged with a crime based on the information a dog provides to its handler. Even if the charge is eventually dropped, you could spend time in jail or pay a fee to get your car out of an impound lot. Furthermore, civil forfeiture laws may allow authorities to retain possession of anything found during a search of your car unless you can prove that it wasn’t used to commit a crime.