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Police Cannot Bring the Drug Dogs After a Traffic Stop is Over

Posted by Phoenix S. Ayotte | Apr 21, 2015 | 0 Comments

In a stunning (yet common sense) victory for the defense attorneys before the Supreme Court of the United States, the Court ruled that the police cannot unjustifiably extend a traffic stop in order to have the car sniffed by drug dogs.

"Beyond determining whether to issue a traffic ticket, an officer's mission during a traffic stop typically includes checking the driver's license, determining whether there are outstanding warrants against the driver, and inspecting the automobile's registration and proof of insurance. These checks serve the same objective as enforcement of the traffic code: ensuring that vehicles on the road are operated safely and responsibly. See Delaware v. Prouse, 440 U. S. 648, 658–659. Lacking the same close connection to roadway safety as the ordinary inquiries, a dog sniff is not fairly characterized as part of the officer's traffic mission."

This doesn't just have implications for federal drug possession or federal drug conspiracy cases, or even state drug cases - it sets the standard for every traffic stop by police.  The point is - write your traffic ticket, and if you don't have a real reason, based on facts, to suspect something else is illegal, you need to conclude the stop and let people go on their way.

Read the full opinion here!

About the Author

Phoenix S. Ayotte

Ms. Ayotte of Ayotte Law is of counsel to Carmichael Ellis & Brock. She was named one of the "Top 100 Trial Lawyers" by the National Trial Lawyers Association in 2014, "Top 40 Under 40" in 2015, "Top Lawyer" by Who's Who Global Directory, and a "Rising Star" by Super Lawyers in 2016. In the past year alone, Ms. Ayotte has been responsible for dismissals, acquittals, or reduced charges in many serious cases where her clients were unjustly charged, such as: accessory to homicide, felonious mob assault, attempted malicious wounding, robbery, abduction, arson, possession with intent to distribute, burglary, counterfeiting, sodomy with a minor, child abuse, domestic assault, and more


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