U.S. Supreme Court Rules that Dog Sniff Searches Cannot Extend Traffic Stops

In April, the U.S. Supreme Court rendered a decision that’s likely to shift the perspective on countless traffic stops occurring all over the country. In the case of Rodriguez v. United States, the Court has sided with the defendant, Mr. Rodriguez, who was detained in his car for several minutes while officers arranged a dog sniff search of his vehicle without citing any probable cause.

The ruling addresses the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment, which protects citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures. In the 2012 incident in question, Mr. Rodriguez was stopped by Nebraska police for driving outside his lane. After being issued a ticket, officers then called for a K-9 search of his vehicle without probable cause. The search turned up contraband and resulted in a drug charge for Mr. Rodriguez.

In a 6-3 decision, however, the Supreme Court Justices sided with Mr. Rodriguez, saying that the detainment in his vehicle for seven to eight minutes– along with the dog sniff search itself, was a violation of his Fourth Amendment rights. The police simply did not have any probable cause to continue to detain the defendant and wait for the k-9, after the traffic stop was completed.

A Critical Decision for Citizen Rights

Police misconduct has been a prominent topic all over the country recently and has brought the blurry line between citizens’ rights and law enforcement’s obligation to do its job to the public’s attention. This latest Supreme Court decision rules decisively in the public’s favor. Although the police can conduct a dog sniff search during a traffic stop, according to this ruling, they cannot continue to detain a car while waiting for a k-9 to arrive.

If you have been accused of a crime, then it is absolutely necessary to contact capable and experienced counsel. At Herman Law, P.A., Attorney Herman is a former prosecutor who stays on top of the latest case law and understands the complex and nuanced legal issues, which are used to obtain favorable rulings for his clients.

Discover what a dedicated and experienced West Palm Beach criminal defense attorney can do for your case. Contact us now for a free case evaluation.