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Are drug-sniffing dogs reliable?

Dogs are incredible animals. They can be excellent protectors and loving companions. However, they are not perfect, especially when it comes to drug-sniffing dogs.

Drug-sniffing dogs are often used by police during traffic stops and other situations where police have reason to suspect there are drugs on a person or in a certain location. But just because police frequently utilize drug-sniffing dogs does not mean they are frequently accurate

False alarms

Multiple studies have shown that drug-sniffing dogs are far from perfect when it comes to locating drugs. As discussed in one article by NPR, human error can be blamed for some of the failures, including a handler who may consciously or unconsciously provide cues to a dog. Dogs can also falsely alert in situations where drugs were present at one time, but not currently.

An alert from a dog is crucial in a drug case, as it can give police what they need to conduct a search. Should this lead to the discovery of drugs or drug paraphernalia, then a person can be arrested and charged with a serious drug offense.

Considering the effect that a dog's alert can have on a case, it is crucial to examine a dog's training and record of accuracy, as well as the handler's qualifications and actions if a person is arrested after a canine search.

Other issues to consider

Accuracy is just one element worth examining in cases that involve a canine. It could also be prudent to examine elements like whether a person was unlawfully detained while waiting for K-9 unit to arrive as well as whether police properly pulled a driver over or otherwise approached a suspect.

These and other issues could weaken a prosecution's case and possibly lead to reduced or dismissed charges.

Remember that you have the right to defend yourself against criminal drug charges, even when prosecutors or law enforcement agents claim they have a wealth of evidence to convict. You have the right to work with an attorney to scrutinize the details of your arrest in order to find vulnerabilities and possible violations of your rights, which can help you avoid wrongful conviction and penalties.

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