Have you been charged with possession of a prohibited drug? Were you searched by police after a sniffer dog approached you?
Streeton Lawyers specialises in these sorts of cases. In fact, last week, Justin Wong and Maxine Malaney of our firm gave a presentation on police powers and sniffer dogs to other lawyers. In the presentation, Justin and Maxine explained the law and provided other lawyers with practical advice on how to deal with evidence obtained through sniffer dogs. This page highlights some key points you should know.
What powers do police have when using sniffer dogs?
- Police are authorised to search you if they suspect on reasonable grounds that you are in possession of a prohibited drug. If a dog sits down next to you, police can take that into account in deciding whether there are grounds to search you.
- Police also have the power to strip search you if the circumstances are serious and urgent, and there are reasonable grounds to do so.
- Police can use the sniffer dogs at public events such as events, concerts, festivals, and they can also use them in the Kings Cross precinct, as well as liquor stores, tattoo parlours, trains and some buses.
- Police are required to use all reasonable precautions to prevent the dog from touching you.
If you find yourself in a situation involving sniffer dogs, here are three things you should remember:
- You should be cooperative with police when they search you. If you later plead guilty to a drug possession charge, the Magistrate may consider your cooperation with police when deciding your sentence.
- However, remember that police are required to provide you with proof that they are a police officer, and provide you with their name and police station. It is within your rights to request this information from police if it is not offered.
- Pay attention to the actions of the sniffer dog that approached you and later make a note of its actions (Did it sit down next to you? Did it touch you?). This could be important later.
If you want to know more about sniffer dogs, or discussion your situation with an expert, call us on 9025 9888.
For more information on drug possession offences, see our Drug Offences page.