Drug Dog Searches Limited By US Supreme Court

A recent United States Supreme Court case involving drug dog searches after a car is stopped for a traffic stop is looking very interesting. The decision was handed down April 21, 2015. The majority opnion of the court said that a traffic stop could not be extended any longer than was necessary to deal with the reason the car was pulled over in the first place. No extension of just a few minutes is allowed!

It is no longer what was always thought of, as it was a reasonable amount of time fro the extension of the stop. Now, the officers have to do their stuff and get it over with. If they take too long, charges might start getting tossed by the courts.

This is an argument defense attorneys have been making for years, but it always fell on deaf ears. Seems a good part of the public saw no harm in law enforcement violating the Constitution by these extended stops for drug dogs. Probably because it was always someone else on the side of the road having to go through that crap, guilty or not. Finally it seems the courts are getting it.

Police may typically inspect a driver's license, ask for the registration and proof of insurance and check for outstanding warrants because they all are aimed at ensuring that vehicles are operated safely, Ginsburg said.

She said the purpose of most stops is a violation of a traffic law, and roadway safety is the purpose of the stop. She said delaying the stop any more than is necessary, so that a drug dog can perform a sniff, is Unconsitutional, and a majority of the court agreed with her!!

Rodriguez v. U.S. is the case that sets this new standard, which should have been the standard all along. Now we have to wait and see if it really has any real practical effect on police behavior.

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