For a professional Raleigh criminal lawyer, the term “probable cause” comes up often. To put it simply, an officer has legal reason to believe that a person may be committing a crime.
Police dogs, for the record, are simply part of the “probable cause” equation. They, alone, don’t justify a warrantless search or arrest. However, if the dogs respond to something illicit inside a car or package, its handler should ask the person if he can search the vehicle. The person can actually say no to this, but it doesn’t always work.
Saying “no” to a warrantless search while inside a car has a lesser rate of success, all the more if the car refused to stop despite the officer’s orders. In this case, the officer has legal reason to believe that there’s something in the car the person doesn’t want the cops to find out. As cars drive along public roads, “public view” strengthens the justification for a warrantless search.