Dog Sniff & Missouri Law


Police officers in Missouri are allowed to use dog sniffs to locate illegal narcotics. Such canines can be trained to locate a specific illegal substance or multiple types of drugs. Searching using sniff dogs in Missouri follows particular rules that police officers must observe when bringing a sniffing dog at the scene.

General rule

The fourth amendment safeguards people from unreasonable search and seizures. But according to the Supreme court, using sniff dogs during a police stop does not violate the fourth amendment.

The Supreme court, in the case of Illinois v. Caballes, ruled that police officer do not require reasonable suspicion to use dog sniffs during a legal traffic stop. In this case, Roy Caballes was pulled over for overspeeding. The defendant was subsequently arrested for marijuana trafficking after a sniff dog was brought to the scene and alerted his vehicle. The Illinois Supreme Court ruled that the police did not have a probable course for arrest beyond speeding and as such the sniff was unreasonable.

The United States Supreme court, however, overruled the decision. The Supreme Court stated that the police did not require reasonable suspicion to use a sniffer dog since the suspect was under a legitimate traffic stop.

Exceptions for using dog sniffs for searches in Missouri

Conducting searches using sniff dogs under Missouri laws has to follow some rules. Below are the rules police officers must follow when they bring a sniff dog to a scene;

(i) Reason for a stop

It all begins with a traffic stop. Police officers must have a reasonable suspicion that you have violated the law before they can stop you.

Any traffic stop without a valid reason or probable cause is illegal. All evidence, including narcotics discovered by a sniff dog, that has been obtained from an unlawful stop, will not be admissible in court.

((ii) Duration of a traffic stop

Under Missouri law, a person may not be delayed in order for a sniff dog to be brought to the scene after the time for a traffic stop has expired. This means that if by the time a police officer stops you, and finishes writing you a ticket a sniff dog has not arrived at the scene, then you shall not be made to wait for the canine to arrive.

Also, the dog cannot continue sniffing after all the stop-related activities have finished. Any searches conducted after the expiry of the legitimate stop period cannot be admissible.

(iii) Probable cause

If a police officer detains you further without any probable cause, you have a right to ask the police officer if you can leave. If the police officer declines and holds you until the sniff dog arrives, you can refuse to consent to any searches. Opening the car for the sniff dog or giving your car keys to the office, means you have agreed to the search.

If a court determines that there was no probable cause for delayed detention, then both the evidence and the detention will be deemed illegal. Your defense counsel should file a motion to suppress the evidence. If the evidence is declared inadmissible by the court, then you will weaken the prosecutor’s case.

The law, however, states that if a police officer develops probable cause for a crime after a traffic stop, then the officer can detain you for a longer time as may be defined by Missouri law. The evidence obtained from such delayed detention will still be admissible in court.

Drug convictions can have severe implications. If you are facing drug charges that have resulted from searches using dog sniffs in Missouri, you need to consult a criminal defense lawyer.

The Sixth Amendment and Eye Witness Identification


The Sixth Amendment and Eye Witness Identification

The procedures of witness identification face many constitutional challenges. The challenges to these procedures are focused on the provisions of the Sixth amendment below.
The Sixth Amendment to the U.S. reads in part; ”In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right… to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense”.

… Continue reading



Missouri statutes state that it’s an offense to hinder another person’s legal ownership of his own goods in the event that one receives the goods that he or she knows has been stolen or even thinks that the property has been stolen (Lippman & Mathew, 2010). The basis of any prosecution is that one had knowledge or believe that the goods that he or she received were stolen. If he or she has a trail of being in possession of stolen property in more than one occurrence. If one has been in a similar form of transaction in a year prior, then that means he had knowledge of the illegal transaction.

… Continue reading

Right to Speedy Trial in Missouri


Right to Speedy Trial in Missouri

The right to a speedy trial ensures that the state brings an individual to trial among bound points in time. There are completely different points in time supported federal law and state law. If the applicable point in time passes, the litigator could assert that his or her right to a speedy trial has been denied which the criminal charges ought to be fired. in addition to guaranteeing the correct to associate degree lawyer, the Sixth change to the U.S. Constitution guarantees a criminal litigator the correct to a speedy trial by associate degree “impartial jury.” this suggests that a criminal litigator should be dropped at trial for his or her alleged crimes among a fairly short time once arrest, which before being condemned of most crimes, the litigator includes a constitutional right to be tried by a jury, that should notice the litigator guilty “beyond an inexpensive doubt.”

… Continue reading

Prior and Persistent Law Offenders in Missouri


Missouri is among the states in the U.S. that have adopted special sentencing guidelines for prior and persistent law offenders. Under Missouri laws, a prior offender is a person who has been found guilty of one offense on a separate occasion from the present offense for which the person is being charged. A persistent offender is a person who has been found guilty of two or more offenses on separate occasions from the present offense for which the person is charged; OR a person who has been found guilty of offenses including assault of a law enforcement officer in the second degree, second degree assault, and involuntary manslaughter, and the person has also been proven to be a prior offender. The conviction(s) does not have to be a Missouri state conviction, but rather could be a federal conviction or a conviction from another state.

… Continue reading

Sentencing Guidelines In Missouri


The Missouri Department of Justice in collaboration with the Missouri Sentencing Advisory Commission has established a well-defined set of sentencing guidelines that govern the imposition of minimum and maximum punishments for different crimes while considering the facts and circumstances of individual cases. These guidelines propose the appropriate sentence disposition and the range within which an authorized sentence can be set.

… Continue reading

Coercion Defense In Criminal Law


A successful coercion defense requires that the defendant’s fear be reasonable and related to him/her committing the crime. A Missouri court will look at the evidence provided and give an objective ruling. Such a verdict demands that if any other person were in a similar situation to that of the defendant ought to feel the same amount of fear to necessitate the criminal act.

… Continue reading

Requirements For Probable Cause In Missouri


Probable Cause Criminal Defense

In criminal law, probable cause is defined as the legal standard by which law enforcement officers have reasonable grounds to believe that a particular individual has committed a crime or is going to commit a crime, especially to justify making an arrest, obtaining an arrest warrant, conducting personal or property search, seizing property relating to a suspected crime, or preferring criminal charges. Missouri laws obligate police officers to have valid reasons to undertake the aforementioned law enforcement duties.

… Continue reading