I've got a couple of questions regarding k9 searches and probable cause. The state in question is Ohio, and here is a brief summary of the events that occured.
-Vice Unit pulls over my fiance's vehicle (which I am driving) for "Failing to use turn signal when leaving curb" after indiscretely following me for 3 miles from the scene of the traffic violation.
-The Vice officer asks me if he has permission to search the car, and I say no.
-Another officer then uses a canine to sniff the exterior of the car (Not sure if the canine was present when pulled over, but it wasn't long until it arrived if not).
-Without any further notice, the officer opens the car and searches the interior of the car with the canine. After the canine is done searching a group of officers procede to search the vehicle by hand.
***Note: There is an open container of fresh Chinese food on the center console prior to the canine search***
-As a result of the search(es) they find 2 Schedule I pills that I have a valid prescription for, and 2 Schedule I pills for which there is no valid prescription, in my Fiance's purse.
-The officers state that the dog indicated on the drivers door, passengers door, and trunk door which gave them probable cause to conduct the search.
-My fiance is charged with 4 counts of Aggravated Drug Possession
I realize that is a lot of information to take in but here is the gist of the situation. My fiance is a Canadian citizen and her greencard expires soon, so getting these charges lessened or dropped is crucial for her to be able to renew her greencard and stay in the country for our marriage. Can anyone provide some insight, or possible angles to pursue in defense of this case, canine searches, or significant others holding another's prescription meds?
I understand that all advice is hypothetical and you assume no liability in providing any such advice. Also here are some questions I have....
-Can canines smell pills?
-Can the validity of a Canine search be affected if there is food in the car?
-If a Canine indicates all over the exterior of the car but there isn't any actual drugs in the vehicle itself, does this invalidate the Canine's indications on the vehicle?
-Do the police have to secure permission from the vehicle driver or owner to conduct a search? (Presuming both are in the vehicle)
-What are some other practical ways to invalidate a Canine search? (I.E. dog was trained with psuedo-scents and consequently might indicate on non-narcotic substances)
ANY thoughts, comments, or direction would be invaluable! Thanks for your time.