Upper Marlboro, MD asked in Criminal Law and Federal Crimes for Maryland

Q: Can the police receive an anonymous tip than bring a dog to smell around a condo without a warrant, To get a warrant?

Related Topics:
3 Lawyer Answers
Eric Todd Kirk
Eric Todd Kirk
Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Baltimore, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: 4th Amendment law is one of the most fact-dependent areas of law known. It's not possible to answer your question on the information provided. Can police bring a dog into your unit without consent, a warrant or an exception? No. Can they have a dog in a public area/common area of a larger complex where they have a legal right to be? Perhaps. K9 sniffs are not considered searches. You said "around" a condo. You should consult with a lawyer in a confidential setting.

Scott Scherr and Matthew J. Bronson agree with this answer

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Rockville, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: If the police did not enter the condo unit with the dog, and remained in the common public areas surrounding the condo, perhaps that is OK, but it depends on what is considered the “curtilage” of the condo unit(s) (in a normal single family house the curtilage is typically the home’s yard). I cannot imagine any scenario where a positive dog reaction alone to the presence of drugs outside conjoined condo units would justify probable cause to support a warrant to search inside one of the units. But confidential informants whose detailed information, basis for their personal knowledge, and past accuracy in providing information all support their reliability, will be deemed reasonable to rely upon for most search warrants. But a lawyer would need to know all the facts underlying the probable cause determination. Notwithstanding that analysis, if a judge granted a search warrant and the police acted in good faith in reliance upon it, then whatever incriminating evidence found as a result will be allowed into evidence, even if the judge’s determination that probable cause supported the warrant might later be deemed erroneous.

Scott Scherr and Matthew J. Bronson agree with this answer

Matthew J. Bronson
Matthew J. Bronson
Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Montgomery Village, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: I agree with both previous answers provided. Additionally, The United States Supreme Court has previously held that a K-9 performing a search on someone's porch entrance to the home without a warrant is considered a search in violation of the 4th Amendment. As mentioned previously, a common/ public area around the home in a larger complex could be considered legal depending on specific facts.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.