This is the next post in our discussion on the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Rodriguez v. U.S. Our last article looked at how Arkansas residents with prior drug convictions may gain relief under Rodriguez. This article will look at how the decision impacts other areas of search & seizure law in our state. We cannot stress enough that you should contact a criminal defense lawyer immediately if you have been arrested after a police encounter.
The Rodriguez decision will likely lead to future challenges of searches which involved drug sniffing dogs
The Rodriguez decision was very straightforward in terms of the situation it dealt with. As we explained in a prior post, the United States Supreme Court held that officers violated a driver’s rights when they stopped the vehicle for a traffic infraction and held the driver, longer than was necessary to give out a ticket, for the purpose of using a drug sniffing dog to examine the vehicle. This was simply an extension of existing law; the Courts have long held that officers cannot investigate beyond the crime for which they stop someone unless evidence of a new crime is found. While Rodriguez itself was straightforward, it will likely lead to future Court debates which will not be so simple.
Future challenges to police stops may include the length of time for which an officer may detain someone. Rodriguez held that the use of a drug sniffing dog was not reasonable because it required the driver to stay longer than was required for the basic traffic stop. This raises the question, however, of the amount of time that is reasonable for such a stop. It is unlikely that the Court would ever give a firm time limit for such stops. Instead, such situations will remain fact specific. If the Court were to ever place a strict limit on how long one could be stopped, for a traffic infraction, then several exceptions would have to be created to that limit and the system would not be workable. Other challenges may include attempts to further limit the uses of a drug sniffing dog during vehicle stops.
Little Rock, Arkansas residents should contact an attorney immediately if they were arrested after the use of a drug sniffing dog
Many Arkansas residents make the mistake of thinking there is nothing they can do after they have been arrested. Quite often, however, criminal cases hinge on search and seizure issues and arrests can be dismissed due to violations of an individual’s rights. Our Little Rock criminal defense lawyers have extensive experience dealing with such issues and will take immediate steps to ensure that one’s rights are protected. Contact our office today to schedule an initial consultation. We service the entire state.