Will K9 investigation lead to charges for drug crimes?

As happens to any number of Wisconsin motorists on a given day, a man was recently pulled over by a traffic cop. Events that unfolded from there resulted in the man’s arrest. Police not only claim he committed a traffic violation, but they also suspect him of drug crimes.  

At some point during the traffic stop, the officer on duty contacted another officer in the area who then came to the scene with a K9 unit. The dog was released to investigate the man’s vehicle. Authorities say that methamphetamine and other drug paraphernalia was found inside the man’s car.  

It is not clear why the traffic officer called in a K9 unit or even why the initial traffic stop was made. Police cannot simply pull people over at random. They must have reasonable cause to do so. Even after pulling a person over, police must determine probable cause to make an arrest.  

While finding illegal drugs inside someone’s car is definitely probable cause for arrest, to search a vehicle in the first place requires a warrant unless circumstances included an exception to that rule. If the Wisconsin officer in question claims to have seen what appeared to be illegal drugs in plain sight through the car window or witnessed a person drinking from an alcohol container, it may be grounds to search without a warrant. The man in this situation is being held in a county jail while he waits to see if he will be charged for drug crimes. At any point leading up to or following an arrest, a person in a similar situation may request legal representation.