The answer to this question, like many answers in the criminal defense arena is… “it depends”.
All things equal, a stop for a traffic infraction (like speeding or an equipment violation) can last only as long as is reasonably necessary for the officer to accomplish the purpose of the stop…
Meaning that they can run your tag, your DL and the vehicle registration, and they can check for compliance with the requirement that you carry proof of insurance, and then they can write you a ticket, but once all of that is done the lawful detention ends, and if the cops don’t let you promptly go about your business then you may have been unlawfully detained.
But, if, during the course of the detention the officer develops a reasonable suspicion that a crime has been, is being or is about to be committed (like if you were having a clam bake and s/he smells the odor of marijuana emanating from your car) then, you can be further detained, and in the event that the officer has a reasonable and articulable suspicion that drugs are involved then you can be detained until a K-9 arrives.
BUT, if a cop merely has an unfounded hunch then the normal rules apply and you can’t lawfully be kept on the roadside any longer than is necessary to accomplish the purposes of the stop. If you are kept waiting on a K-9 under those circumstances then, regardless of what they ultimately find, you have been unlawfully detained and the evidence should be suppressed.
At Michael A. Haber, PA “it’s all about reasonable doubt”!
Please note that no attorney-client relationship with either Michael A. Haber, PA or Michael A. Haber, Esq. exists as a result of your watching this Webisode series. Further any and all information which is both contained in and may be construed from this Webisode series is generic in nature and should only be considered as informational and not as actual legal advise in any specific case. Should you wish to seek actual legal advise then please feel free to contact Michael A. Haber, Esq. as follows:
Office Phone: 305-381-8686
Toll Free Phone: 1-888-SHARK-8-1
Cellular Phone / Text: 305-798-2220
E-Mail: [email protected] / [email protected]
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