The U.S. Supreme Court just ruled, 6 to 3, that officers who order a vehicle to be investigated by dog sniffing is now illegal. This ruling was prompted after a 2012 traffic stop, where an officer took 21 minutes to examine the driver’s car. The driver did not consent to the search. The officer then ordered the driver to exit the vehicle and subsequently called for backup.
The search recovered a bag of methamphetamine and was later charged with drug possession. However, his appeal in court was heard because the search was carried out illegally.
Officers Are Not Legal Experts
This may or may not be a surprising fact for some, but officers are largely unaware of the finer details of the law. While they may have some idea and know what they have the right to do, they may not realize that they are more than overstepping their boundaries.
Here are some tips we would like to share to protect yourself during a traffic stop:
- You have the right to refuse a search of your property or vehicle
- Extending the time needed to complete tasks during a stop is illegal
- Dog-sniffing is not part of an officer’s mission
- You have the right to ask if you are free to leave
Another important item to note is that you do have the right to remain silent. The ruling to make dog-sniffing unlawful will certainly be a development which many law enforcement officials must become accustomed to. The legal world will also have to adjust to protect the rights of those who have been unfairly treated and by officers who have broken the law.
Need defense? Call us!
With more than 35 years of experience, our aggressive Miami criminal defense attorneys at Hager & Schwartz, P.A. are dedicated to resolving any case and any criminal charges placed against you. If you believe you have been unfairly treated by law enforcement, either through illegal traffic stops and unwarranted requests, remember that you have rights!
Call us today for defense against your charges! Schedule your free consultation at any time.