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Should You Fear the Threat of Drug Dogs?

If you were detained or arrested for suspected DUI in Southern California and the arresting officer failed to establish reasonable suspicion or probable cause, any evidence related to the incident would be inadmissible in court—including the use of a drug-sniffing dog.

Rodriguez vs. the United States

This 2015 case was brought by Dennys Rodriguez who was pulled over for driving on the shoulder of the highway in Nebraska. As soon as the officer pulled him over, checked his driver’s license and issued a warning for his erratic driving, the officer asked if he could walk his drug-sniffing dog around his vehicle.

Although Rodriguez refused the search, the officer detained him for “seven or eight minutes” until a backup officer arrived before conducting the search. After sniffing around the vehicle, the dog detected drugs, and Rodriquez was indicted for possession of methamphetamine.

However, the Supreme Court later ruled 6-3 that the U.S. Constitution forbids law enforcement from holding a suspect without probable cause, even for fewer than 10 extra minutes. In all, the stop Rodriguez had experienced lasted less than 30 minutes.

According to the Supreme Court, the search of Rodriguez’s car was illegal. This means that the evidence obtained in it is not supposed to be admissible at trial. While officers may use a drug-sniffing dog during routine traffic stops, they cannot extend the length of the stop in order to carry it out.

If you were recently arrested for a DUI in Ventura County, contact The Law Offices of Robert F. Sommers and schedule a free consultation today.