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The United States Supreme Court issued an opinion in the case of Rodriguez v. United States in April, 2015. The rule announced by the Court is that the “seizure for a traffic violation justifies police investigation of that violation” not more, and “authority for the seizure …ends when tasks tied to the traffic infraction are-or reasonably should have been-completed.”
Being stopped by the police is a common occurrence to most people (not just drug dealers), so this decision may give some comfort to those being stopped. It also may help in defending those who have been stopped, and ended up having drugs found in their vehicle.
Traffic stops have to be reasonably short, and unless there is a reasonable suspicion of some other crime, officers aren’t supposed to use the stop as a basis to conduct an investigation regarding other issues. More specifically, the United States Supreme Court said that officers can’t prolong a traffic stop just to perform a dog-sniffing drug search.
If the traffic stop is prolonged, then it may be in violation of the United States Constitution. If so, a skilled traffic violation attorney may be able to have the evidence of the drugs or other evidence obtained as the result of such investigation, excluded from evidence. This would mean that the prosecution may not be allowed to use the evidence against the accused. In such cases, then the case may be dismissed.
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