We often discuss the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The amendment protects the people against unreasonable search and seizure. It does this by demanding that law enforcement obtain a search warrant from a judge prior to allowing a search of a person, their home or their papers.
There are, however, exceptions to the requirement for a warrant to seize a person. One of those exceptions is criminal activity. When a police officer witnesses a crime, they can stop and if necessary arrest the suspect. For instance, when you drive in excess of the speed limit, an officer may stop and charge you with that offense.
And once the officer is close to your vehicle, any number of unforeseen consequences may occur. This is why so many drug charges begin as traffic stops and escalate to drug arrests.
An arrest in Iowa City last week, showed that even with countermeasures, allowing a police officer to “open the door” to a search is risky. A man was stopped by the officer for “improper rear lamps,” which we assume means a burnt-out taillight or turn signal.
When the officer approached the vehicle, he detected the strong odor of a specific perfume, “Curve.” The strong odor apparently raised the officer’s suspicions, which were confirmed by the man’s nervous demeanor, including “shaking arms and legs.”
The officer brought in a drug-sniffing dog and the dog alerted. The man then admitted to having marijuana and drug paraphernalia in the car.
Of course, drug-sniffing dogs are not infallible, and perhaps the dog was smitten by the scent of “Curve,” but the incident illustrates the risk giving the police an excuse to stop your vehicle.
Source: thesmokinggun.com, “Cop’s Sniff Test Sinks Teen On Drug Charges,” August 11, 2015