The United States Supreme Court has ruled that police officers who prolong traffic stops are in violation of the Fourth Amendment. Denny Rodriguez was pulled over for driving erratically and arrested when a dog sniff search led authorities to a bag of methamphetamine. The Court found that the police violated Mr. Rodriquez’s civil rights by making him wait while the dog sniffed for drugs around his vehicle without probably cause. Police may not hold you during a traffic stop for longer than it takes to write a ticket unless the officer has additional reasonable suspicion of a crime.
If you are pulled over take out your phone and start recording your interactions, then give the officer your license and registration, but always keep your hands in sight. The officer cannot hold you for longer than it takes to address the reason why he or she stopped you. If you are issued a citation, ask the officer if you are free to leave. If the officer says you are not free to leave, has no probably cause, and the traffic ticket has been issued, you could be unlawfully detained. An officer may search your car without permission if he or she has probable cause. However, the only way the officer could search your vehicle without probable cause is to ask for your consent—you can say no.
If your rights are being violated, there is likely nothing you can do in the moment, so the best option is to comply. Challenges could be made when putting on your defense or by suing them. All evidence from an improper search and seizure can be suppressed! Remember that you do not have to answer any questions and to request an attorney immediately.
HOW THE MAXWELL FIRM CAN HELP
When charged with a crime, having an advocate that cares is essential –especially if your civil rights were also violated. Criminal and civil rights cases require significant trial and appellate experience. We believe in our clients and we fight for justice. The Maxwell Law Firm has seasoned staff – from our attorneys to our investigators – and financial resources to aggressively defend and pursue such cases.
In these cases, it is especially important that a client finds an attorney they feel comfortable with, have confidence in, and can fully trust. There will come a time when you must decide whether to resolve your case through a plea or settlement or take it to trial. At that point, confidence and trust in your attorney is essential. Further, an attorney that cares about your future is also imperative. Over the years, The Maxwell Law Firm has helped numerous criminally accused take back their lives.