No Dogs Allowed

Mark RollinsCriminal Law

Police dogs are not allowed to search and sniff during routine traffic stops

The United States Supreme Court in Rodriquez v. United States ruled that a police stop “exceeding the time“needed to issue the traffic ticket or handle the reason the motorist was pulled over violates the 4th amendment to the United States Constitution.     The Court held that an officer may not detain an individual driving on the roads “absent the reasonable suspicion ordinarily demanded to justify detaining an individual.”  In other words, Officer must have some reason for bringing the police dog to the automobile to justify a search.

Traffic Stops are not Arrest

Remember that when you are stopped for a minor traffic violation, an officer is supposed to just issue the ticket for the traffic ticket and keep it moving.  However, sometimes police use this stop to investigate other issues.  Remember you are not under arrest when you are stopped by the police.  This is just a stop.  The difference between a stop an arrest is duration.  Lets face it if you are stopped by the police you are not free to leave, however, this does not mean you are under arrest.  If during the stop the police discover something illegal than he can put you under arrest. Before this case, the police may have police dogs come to your car and sniff and search for illegal contraband.  However, now the Court has ruled that the police must keep it moving and not continue to look for stuff or investigate something you did wrong.

If you are stopped

If you are stopped for a traffic infraction politely (I know easier said than done) accept your ticket and do not let the officer search your car because absent some reasonable articulable suspicion he does not have the right to.  If you questions regarding this new law please feel free to reach out to us.

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