Legal Blog

Can Police Officers Call the Dogs During a Traffic Stop?

Author Clark & Noonan, LLC
Posted October 29, 2019
Category Traffic Offenses in New Jersey

In some circumstances, police officers may be able to summon police dogs to a traffic stop. The reasonable and articulable suspicion that the officers possess at the time will be the deciding factor.

Police officers are permitted to conduct a traffic stop based upon reasonable and articulable suspicion. They are further permitted to issue tickets upon probable cause that a traffic violation occurred. However, in order to extend the stop beyond the reason for the original traffic stop and turn the stop into what is known as a Terri stop, the officer must possess specific reasonable and articulable suspicion.

New Jersey courts have routinely held that a defendant is required to provide pedigree information upon a lawful traffic stop but must be entitled to go on their way without further questioning or delay without any additional suspicion or reason to extend the stop.

If an officer continues the detention of a driver for additional questioning without justification, all evidence that is subsequently seized may be suppressed. Suppressing evidence means that the state will not be able to use the evidence in the prosecution of the defendant. If, for instance, in a drug case, the state is unable to use the recovered drugs in the prosecution, the state will likely be forced to dismiss the drug charges.

Calling for police dogs to do a sweep or search is considered extending the traffic stop beyond the initial reason for the stop. If the officer does not have a reason to extend the initial stop and call for a police dog to do a sniff, the resulting contraband that was discovered may be suppressed as evidence derived from an unlawful seizure.

If you would like to speak to one of our attorneys about a motor vehicle stop or subsequent police search and seizure, or a potential drug possession charge, contact our criminal defense law firm day or night. Our attorneys offer a free initial consultation.