Can Police Use a Drug-Detection Dog to Search My Car During a Traffic Stop?

Police drug detection dogs are legal in seraches.

Can Police Use a Drug-Detection Dog to Search My Car During a Traffic Stop?


In Arizona, law enforcement is permitted to use “drug dogs,” specialized K9 unit canines that can alert to the presence of certain drugs, during their traffic stops.

After being pulled over for a routine traffic stop, if a police officer believes you may be harboring illegal drugs, they can have a drug dog search your vehicle. Alternatively, drug dogs can be used to search vehicles going through checkpoints within the state.

Since marijuana has been legalized in the state of Arizona, drug dogs should not be alerting for the presence of cannabis. While newer K9 units may train their dogs to only alert for drugs such as cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamines, there is still the possibility that the drug will invariably alert due to marijuana presence.

A person who finds themselves arrested because a drug dog alerted for a legal drug in their possession has a chance of having their search information thrown out.

Additionally, a law enforcement officer cannot unduly delay the traffic stop in order to wait for a drug dog to arrive to search your vehicle. If you find yourself in this situation, you should not consent to have your vehicle searched and you should not consent to wait for a drug dog to arrive on scene.

Rideout Law Group is experienced in challenging the State for unduly delaying traffic stops and has had over 25 cases dismissed using this defense.

If you are facing a drug-related charge as a result of an interaction with a police K9 unit, give us a call today to review your case. Our methods are proven.



With offices in Lake Havasu City and Scottsdale, our firm serves the entire state of Arizona, with a particular focus on criminal defense, family law, and juvenile cases.

Our goal is for the best outcome for your criminal case, which can include:

  • charges that are reduced or dropped.
  • top experts reviewing your case.
  • aggressive negotiations with the prosecution for plea bargains.
  • fines or probation in lieu of jail time.

At Rideout Law Group, our attorneys are able to expertly examine the evidence in your case to provide a strong strategy for argument that leads to an outcome that is most favorable to you. We have experience in all types of criminal cases for both adults and juveniles, with positive outcomes both in plea negotiations as well as jury trial settings.

Call us today for a free consultation at 480-584-3328.

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