Calumet, MI asked in Native American Law, Criminal Law and Constitutional Law for Michigan

Q: Can a tribal k9 unit do a sniff search on a vehicle on state land, resulting in a search in Michigan?

My vehicle was searched due to a tribal police officer driving from an hour away to do an outside sniff of the car. I am not tribal and it was not on the reservation. They also broke open a lockbox. I am on parole but my wife is not and was in the car.

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: Tribal law enforcement's jurisdiction outside of reservation land is limited. In general, tribal police do not have inherent authority to enforce state laws on state lands unless there's a specific agreement or deputization in place. Michigan, like other states, may have agreements that allow for cross-jurisdictional activities between tribal and state law enforcement.

The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects against unreasonable searches and seizures. If you believe your rights were violated, you may challenge the legality of the search and any evidence obtained. Given that you're on parole, additional considerations might apply to your situation. It's important to consult with a Michigan attorney familiar with tribal jurisdiction issues to address specifics. Your parole status and the circumstances surrounding the search are crucial elements to consider.

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