Canine Searches


Certain circumstances must exist for a search to be constitutional. For example, contemporaneous searches must occur at the time as, or very close in time and place to, the arrest. Searches citing exigent circumstances may involve some kind of an emergency that makes getting a search warrant impractical, useless, dangerous, or unnecessary. There is generally a reasonable expectation of privacy that exists when a person exhibits an actual expectation of privacy, and the expectation is one that society is prepared to recognize as reasonable. That aside, the U.S. Supreme Court held in United States v. Place, that there is no search within the meaning of the 4th Amendment if police use narcotics detection dogs to smell closed containers for drugs, as long as police are on the premises legally.


Consider that there is no need for a search warrant or for probable cause to conduct dog sniffs.

In your main post:

  • Express your position on the Court’s decision in United States v. Place, using an additional case to support your opinion.
  • Describe the constitutional requirements that apply, or do not apply, in canine searches.
  • Differentiate between the constitutionality of canine searches versus other searches that require probable cause.

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