Supreme Court: Cops Can’t Hold Suspects to Wait for Drug-Sniffing Dog

The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 on Tuesday that the Constitution forbids police from holding a suspect without probable cause, even for fewer than 10 extra minutes.

Writing on behalf of the court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg declared that the constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure prevent police from extending an otherwise completed traffic stop to allow for a drug-sniffing dog to arrive.

“We hold that a police stop exceeding the time needed to handle the matter for which the stop was made violates the Constitution’s shield against unreasonable seizures,” she ruled.

The case, Rodriguez v. United States, was brought by a man who was pulled over for driving on the shoulder of a Nebraska highway. After the police pulled him over, checked his license and issued a warning for his erratic driving, the officer asked whether he could walk his drug-sniffing dog around the vehicle.