Do I have a legitimate complaint to make?

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Do I have a legitimate complaint to make?

I was stopped for having a taillight out, the officer asked if I consented to a search to which I replied no. He then had me step out and brought a dog to check and the dog apparently smelled something. In the end there wasn’t anything in the vehicle, as I departed with only the taillight citation and no apology. I feel like my rights have been violated. Do I have a legitimate legal grievance?

Asked on May 22, 2019 under Criminal Law, Missouri

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Depending on the exact circumstances (did the dog enter the car without your consent, which would be illegal? or did the dog smell something from outside the car, where the dog could legally be?) you may have a legal claim in theory. In practice, you do not have one, since the compensation you could receive were you to sue is related to the harm or damage you suffered, and since you were not cited for drugs and were allowed to depart, you suffered no harm or damage. Hence, there is nothing to compensate you for.


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