Call Today For Your Strategy Session: (303) 990-5308

During a traffic stop, do police need a warrant to use a drug dog? [MAY 2023]

Have you ever seen police using a drug dog during a traffic stop? You may wonder if a warrant is required for the police to use dogs during traffic stops. If the police stop you for a valid reason, such as suspicion of a crime or a civil traffic violation like speeding, they are permitted to conduct certain actions, including walking a dog around the exterior of your vehicle. Surprisingly, this act is not considered a search under the law.

Under the Fourth Amendment to the federal constitution, police dog sniffs conducted during lawful traffic stops are generally considered legal. However, it is important to note that an officer cannot extend a traffic stop solely for the purpose of conducting a dog sniff without reasonable suspicion. The officer who initiates the traffic stop is not permitted to unnecessarily prolong the detention beyond the time reasonably necessary to fulfill the stop’s intended purpose.

Tasks such as checking the driver’s license, registration, proof of insurance, and running a warrant check are typically deemed to be part of the traffic-stop mission. Conversely, a dog sniff is not considered an inherent part of this mission. Once the tasks associated with the traffic violation are completed or should reasonably be concluded, the detention must come to an end. The crucial factor is not whether the dog sniff occurs before or after the issuance of a ticket but rather whether it unnecessarily prolongs the duration of the stop.

In a case where the Supreme Court referred a defendant’s (Rodriguez vs. U.S., 575 U.S. 348 (2015)) case back to a lower court, it was to determine whether the Officer had reasonable suspicion of criminal activity that would justify the extended detention. If there were not sufficient facts to extend the detention, the dog sniff would be deemed illegal, and any evidence discovered would be inadmissible in court.

Being aware of your rights and the limitations placed on law enforcement during a traffic stop is crucial. If you find yourself in a situation where you believe your rights have been violated or have concerns about the legality of a search, it is advisable to consult with a qualified attorney who can provide you with appropriate legal guidance based on the specific circumstances of your case.

In situations involving warrantless searches or the involvement of drug detection dogs, it is crucial to seek immediate counsel from a skilled drug crimes attorney. Understanding the specific details and context surrounding an individual’s investigation and arrest is essential in formulating the most effective defense strategy for clients facing criminal charges.

When it comes to your criminal case, it is natural to have questions and concerns. That’s why Burnham Law is here to help. Our team of experienced criminal defense lawyers are here to provide you with the guidance and support you need. To ensure your rights are protected and to navigate the complexities of drug-related offenses, don’t hesitate to contact Burnham Law.

More Articles

Share This Article