U.S. Supreme Court: Detaining Motorists on Highway to Await Drug Dog Search is Unconstitutional

Policecourt detaining motorists on the side of the highway to await search from a drug dog is unconstitutional as it violates the Fourth Amendment, according to a 6 to 3 ruling by the United States Supreme Court.

Prior to the ruling, it was commonplace for law enforcement across the country to detain drivers on the side of the highway to await a search by a drug dog. The cop would then use alerts from said dog to find “probable cause” to search the vehicle.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who wrote the majority opinion, said that police may request information when pulling someone over such as vehicle registrations, driver’s licenses and proof of insurance, but that; “A dog sniff, unlike those stock inquiries, lacks the same tie to roadway safety”.

Ginsburg notes that “A traffic stop becomes unlawful if prolonged beyond the time in fact needed to complete all traffic-based inquiries”.

The full ruling for the case – Rodriguez v. US – can be found by clicking here.


Leave a Comment