Are Police Allowed to Search for Drugs Without Reason?

by Bill Vasiliadis on May 29, 2013

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Although many people believe that the police have endless rights to search people and premises for illegal substances, this is not actually the case. When it comes to searching for drugs, the police have certain restrictions that they must abide by. The rule of reasonable suspicion, also known as Rondo reasonable suspicion, mean that police are not allowed to stop and search you, your vehicle, or your property, without having a reasonable reason to suspect that there are drugs present.

What is the definition of Rondo reasonable suspicion?

Reasonable suspicion is defined as “less than a reasonable belief but more than a possibility.” This is a difficult definition to prove either way, but the rules require there to be some factual basis for the suspicion, and for it to be present at the time the police officer stops you or your vehicle to search.

Some scenarios that don’t count as reasonable suspicion include if you are in the company of people whom police believe may be carrying illegal drugs, if you seem nervous or agitated during a routine breath test, or if you have previously been convicted of drug possession, or another drug-related charge.

Recently there has been controversy about the use of drug sniffer dogs as ‘reasonable suspicion’. If a drug detection dog identifies an illegal substance about your person in certain circumstances, it is considered reasonable suspicion for police to then go ahead and search you.

What does this mean for me?

If you have recently been charged with drug possession and you are able to prove that the police searched you or your house without reasonable grounds to believe that drugs were present, you may be able to request the charges against you be dropped, and avoid a criminal conviction.

There are certain guidelines about the behaviour of sniffer dogs, and if you feel that charges against you made on the basis of sniffer dog detection were unfairly obtained, you should seek legal advice.

It is always a good idea to understand the law and what your rights are. Even if you have never been searched for drugs or other illegal substances, it may happen in the future and if you are aware of the rules surrounding police searches, you may be more able to stand up for yourself if necessary, and avoid being unfairly charged with drug possession.

What should I do if I think the police acted illegally?

If you have reason to doubt that police had a reasonable suspicion to search you, your vehicle or your property, you can request that they drop their case against you.

If they refuse, you may be able to have your charges dismissed in court. It is a good idea to seek legal advice if you suspect that the police did not abide by the rules when obtaining evidence against you.

An experienced criminal lawyer will be able to help you determine whether or not you have a case, and apply to have the charges dropped on your behalf. If you are entitled to make an official complaint against the police, your lawyer can advise you on the best way to do this, and what the outcome may be.

Bill Vasiliadis
Bill Vasiliadis is a professional internet marketer who enjoys writing on a wide range of topics. He currently leads the team at SEO for Small Business Pty Ltd based in Sydney, Australia.
Bill Vasiliadis
Bill Vasiliadis

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