Police can use a drug dog to search your vehicle during a routine traffic stop if you voluntarily admit to past drug possession. That’s the ruling of the Indiana Court of Appeals in a recent decision.
John Toschlog was pulled over by police in 2016 because one of his headlights was out. During the stop, the officer asked him if he had any drugs in the vehicle – or if he ever had. Toschlog admitted that he had previously possessed marijuana – legally, in the state of Washington. Because of that admission, the officer called for a drug-sniffing dog and discovered a small amount of marijuana and a hallucinogenic substance called DMT.
Toschlog argues the search wasn’t warranted simply because of an admission of past possession. But the Indiana Court of Appeals disagrees. Its ruling says Toschlog didn’t have to answer the officer’s question, but once he did, the officer had reasonable suspicion to do the dog sniff.
Toschlog could appeal the ruling to the state Supreme Court.