A Reminder from Drug Lawyers: Raleigh Police Can’t Detain You to Wait for a Drug-Sniffing Dog
Imagine this scenario:
while driving around Raleigh, a police officer pulls you over and asks for your
license. He questions you and perhaps issues a traffic ticket – and then makes
you wait forever while he calls for a drug-sniffing dog to arrive and inspect
What should you do in such
a situation? Should such a thing even happen?
seizures and reasonable suspicion
According to a 2015 Supreme Court ruling, this scenario amounts to a violation
of the Constitution’s shield against unreasonable seizures. An officer “may
conduct certain unrelated checks during an otherwise lawful traffic stop,” wrote Justice Ruth Ginsberg in the 6-3
decision, but “may not do so in a way that prolongs the stop, absent the
reasonable suspicion ordinarily demanded to justify detaining an
Without good reason, then,
a police officer can only hold you for the time it takes to issue a ticket –
and can only follow through with a dog-aided search if you consent to it, which
you should never accept.
To be clear, one police
officer can still quickly lead a drug-sniffing dog around your vehicle while a
second officer writes you a ticket. The Supreme Court only outlawed extending
detainment at traffic stops, not the use of the canines.
should you do when you’re detained at a stop?
There might be instances
when officers abuse their authority and refuse to dismiss you after writing a
ticket. They might also insist on conducting dog-aided searches without your
instinctively rely on your lack of knowledge of the law and often use this to
As a very experienced drug lawyer in Raleigh I
will tell you that the best defense against abuse is being pro-active. Protect
yourself from the moment you get pulled over.
Note what time you were
stopped, how long it took for the traffic violation to be addressed, how long
it took for a drug canine to arrive, and what the officers’ names and badge
numbers are. Never drive off or aggressively challenge an officer even if you
think your rights are being disregarded. Assert that you do not consent to the
search but do not impede the officer. Violations of this kind are best settled
in court, not at the time of the stop.
if you do have drugs in your vehicle?
Drug lawyers will truly
have to advocate for you if a dog-led search – however illegitimate – uncovers
illegal substances in your car. But just because the police find drugs in your
vehicle doesn’t mean this is an open-and-shut case. The evidence against you
might be suppressed if it was obtained in violation of your Constitutional
Determining how and why an
arrest is made is often complex. The best way to prove your rights have been
violated is to hire attorneys well-versed in current case laws and examine the details
of your extended detainment. The Supreme Court has made it clear that officers
cannot detain longer than is reasonable.
The qualified drug lawyers
& Blum can help you
if you are arrested for drug possession following a routine traffic stop and
then unnecessarily detained while you waited for a canine unit to arrive.
Police can no longer make
you wait for drug dogs to arrive during a traffic stop, DailyDot.com
What to do if police make
you wait for a drug dog now, DailyDot.com
Justices Rule That Police
Can’t Extend Traffic Stops, NYTimes.com
Rodriguez v. United States, SupremeCourt.gov