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  • WA case law

    Traffic stop with a positive K9 alert for narcotics, would you search immediately or obtain a warrant?

    Thanks,

    40cal

  • #2
    K9 alert is PC for a warrant. However, WA is much, much more restrictive than Gant. A warrant would be needed.

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    • #3
      +1

      Be prepared to articulate the reasonable suspicion that led to you calling in the dog.

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      • #4
        Thanks for the replies. The reason I ask, I popped a guy in MN, from Yakima, who showed numerous indicators of possible criminal activity....long story short, I asked for consent, which he denied, and I ran my K9, which alerted. I told him I would be searching his vehicle since my narcotics detection dog alerted to his vehicle, and he said, fine, go get a warrant. I thought I remember reading somewhere that in WA state, the rules were different with regard to the K9 alert, and the subsequent search. In MN, the k9 alert is PC to search, and we don't need a search warrant for the automobile. He had 8-10 pounds of high grade marijuana in the trunk.

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        • #5
          wow, nice bust 40cal. let me guess, you got him somewhere on 94?

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          • #6
            I'm a Narcotics Handler in Washington and 1. you don't need anything other then a lawful traffic stop to run a Narc Dog around a vehicle. The key is the amount of time the driver has to wait for you to arrive. It must be a reasonable wait for the driver or it turns into a detention which is not lawful. 2. Positive alert on a vehicle gives PC for a warrant. As a handler (or patrol officer for that matter), to get inside the car you have to have consent or a warrant. The rules are the same for the "road toads" and handlers.

            Congrats on the pinch and i'm sure your partner got lots of play time.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Rodeojones View Post
              I'm a Narcotics Handler in Washington and 1. you don't need anything other then a lawful traffic stop to run a Narc Dog around a vehicle. The key is the amount of time the driver has to wait for you to arrive. It must be a reasonable wait for the driver or it turns into a detention which is not lawful. 2. Positive alert on a vehicle gives PC for a warrant. As a handler (or patrol officer for that matter), to get inside the car you have to have consent or a warrant. The rules are the same for the "road toads" and handlers.

              Congrats on the pinch and i'm sure your partner got lots of play time.
              Thanks, and the smart half of the team did get some play time

              I made the stop on I90, I figured I had the guy when he mentioned needing a warrant, as I thought I had remembered reading something about Washington State with regard to the motor vehicles. He went from a poor, self-employed "remodeler" (his words) to a legal scholar in about half a second.

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              • #8
                Ok. Exigent circumstances due to the object being a vehicle is obviously more lenient in MN. Why jeopardize the PC you have in hand and push the limits of the case by possibly loosing it due to a warrantless search? You had PC enough to get a warrant. Hook him and get a warrant.

                Also each time the dog alerts and you get a warrant on that alert doesn't that add to the credibility to that dog?

                Just sayin...
                Pete Malloy, "The only thing black and white about this job is the car."

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by 40cal View Post
                  Thanks for the replies. The reason I ask, I popped a guy in MN, from Yakima, who showed numerous indicators of possible criminal activity....long story short, I asked for consent, which he denied, and I ran my K9, which alerted. I told him I would be searching his vehicle since my narcotics detection dog alerted to his vehicle, and he said, fine, go get a warrant. I thought I remember reading somewhere that in WA state, the rules were different with regard to the K9 alert, and the subsequent search. In MN, the k9 alert is PC to search, and we don't need a search warrant for the automobile. He had 8-10 pounds of high grade marijuana in the trunk.
                  To my knowledge, WA is the only state in the country that does not subscribe to the Carroll Doctrine - that an automobile is extremely mobile therefore an exigency exception to the search warrant requirement is presumed.

                  We can't even really search a vehicle incident to arrest anymore unless we can articulate that evidence of the crime of arrest is inside the vehicle, or there is some other exigency (ie, a burning blunt). So for a suspended driving or warrant arrrest, as it is highly unlikely any evidence of the crime would be in the vehicle, there would be no search of the vehicle incident to arrest. We can inventory a vehicle on impound, but WA courts have warned us time and again they don't want us using the inventory to bypass the warrant requirement. Even an inventory search, however, is limited to the passenger compartment and unlocked containers (unlocked bags, unlocked glove box, etc), but the trunk is out of the question.

                  To take it one step further, if I arrest you out of a stolen car, I have to either have a search warrant, the car thief's consent or the owner's consent to search the stolen car. Until consent or a warrant is obtained, the car thief has a reasonable expectation to privacy and the vehicle is protected from warrantless searches. That's exactly why many WA agencies now ask the owner for consent to search upon recovery at the time the vehicle is reported stolen.

                  This is why I said earlier that WA is much, much more restrictive than Gant.

                  If you're interested, here are the more recent cases leading to these restrictions: State v. Patton, State v. Wright, and State v. Valdez.
                  Last edited by hopperja; 03-23-2011, 12:43 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Great googly moogly! Do you get your state judges from 9th Circus rejects?
                    Pete Malloy, "The only thing black and white about this job is the car."

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Rodeojones View Post
                      I'm a Narcotics Handler in Washington and 1. you don't need anything other then a lawful traffic stop to run a Narc Dog around a vehicle. ...
                      This brings up another unusual WA restriction - pre-text stops. In order for the stop to be valid/lawful, the subjective intent of the officer has to match the objective reason for the stop. In other words, let's say you're driving 50 in a 25, and I stop you. Sure you're speeding (objective reason), but I also suspect you have dope (subjective intent), the defense will argue the stop was pre-textual. If the court agrees, the stop will be deemed an unlawful seizure. The evidence will be thrown out, the conviction over-turned and the officer may not be granted qualified immunity.

                      I think the pre-text issue is also unique to WA. If not, I'd be curious where else courts try to get into the issue of subjective intent (what was the officer thinking and feeling at the time).

                      Again, for those interested, you can read about the issue of pre-text stops in State v. Ladson.
                      Last edited by hopperja; 03-23-2011, 01:53 PM.

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                      • #12
                        Well, apparently it's worse than I had thought. Take this for example: If I'm in your house lawfully, and while I'm there I observe lines of coke on the kitchen table, I can lawfully seize the coke (this is a plain view seizure). I can then charge you with constructive possession of the coke. However, WA has become so unusual about vehicles that if I'm lawfully in your vehicle (perhaps I'm inventorying it before an impound) and I find contraband then I can't seize it. It seems I'm expected to leave the contraband there, seal up the car, impound it to a secure lot, and apply for a search warrant. I could do the same for the house (kick everyone out, seal it up, and post a guard pending a search warrant), but for some reason I'm not required to. For a vehicle, the courts expect it (again, it seems). Oddly enough, as WA courts are trending, this means one has a higher expectation of privacy (and thus freedom from unreasonable search and seizure) in their car than in their house.
                        Last edited by hopperja; 04-06-2011, 01:16 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Wow, I thought it was getting rough in MN.....I'm getting the impression they don't want you searching motor vehicles over there!!!

                          Oh, I do love the state of WA, I just ripped a guy a few days ago from WA w/a bunch of steroids

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