Supreme Court May Change Drug Dog Use For Search Warrants In Jacksonville

Jacksonville, like many cities throughout the United States, have very sophisticated K-9 units, trained to sniff the slightest smells of drugs and other illegal contraband. However, these highly trained animals are causing some constitutional controversy. This controversy is currently making it’s way to the Supreme Court.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Joelis Jardines was arrested for possession of marijuana plants in his home. The arrest came after the police had received an unverified “crime-stoppers” tip that Jardines was growing marijuana in his home. The police brought a drug dog to the door, the dog smelled drugs, and almost solely on the dog’s alert, the police obtained a search warrant. Drug-Dog2.jpg

Warrant cases in Jacksonville can range from bad arrest warrants, improper search warrants, searching the wrong address with a search warrant, and more. No matter the particular warrant case, one should seek an experienced attorney to mount one’s case and make sure one’s constitutional rights are protected.

There are many different types of warrants, but all focus around one particular theme; there must be probable cause for the police to obtain the warrant, be it for searching one’s house, arresting someone, or tracking someone down.

The main theme for the controversy however, is where that probable cause comes from. Under the 4th amendment of the U.S. Constitution, citizens of the United States have “the right…to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures…shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause…”
This means that not only can a person’s house and personal items not be searched without probable cause, but that these are the strongest of one’s 4th amendment rights. People have the right to feel protected in their homes without having police intrude on them unreasonably.

In Jardines’ case, the police had no evidence to obtain probable cause to get the search warrant they had, except for the drug dog’s alert. Police have been able to get around entering one’s home through this manner, because neither the police nor the dog actually enters one’s home.

This is not the only manner in which police have obtained probable cause for search warrants. In one major case, police used a thermal imaging device to see into the home of a suspect the police believed was growing marijuana. The thermal imaging device has since been struck down by the courts as a violation of one’s rights to unreasonable search.


In many cases, people feel safe and protected within the walls of their home. However, unless the Supreme Court decides that methods of obtaining search warrants such as using drug dogs is unconstitutional, one will not be protected. No matter what decision the Supreme Court makes, one should obtain an experienced Jacksonville warrants lawyer to mount the best defense possible and make sure that one’s constitutional rights are known and protected.

The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for more than a decade and are here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one require a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.

Additional Source: Supremes to Consider Warrants for Drug-Sniffing Dogs, Brent Kendall, The Wall Street Journal