Boise, ID asked in Criminal Law, Traffic Tickets and Constitutional Law for Idaho

Q: I was stopped for going 41 mph in a 35 mph zone and I got surprise K9 searched. I also never went faster than 39 mph.

The cop asked for my license and registration after telling me he stopped me for speeding and that I was driving 41 mph in a 35 mph zone. I knew he was bullshitting and never even hit me with a speed gun because I have a radar. He also asked if he could search my vehicle and asked me a million different ways if I had drugs or anything illegal in my vehicle. Never told me why he was asking. After I said no to all his question he had my information in his vehicle behind me and next thing I know I have like 6 police officers surrounding every angle of my vehicle and then out of no where a K-9 unit is circling my vehicle. No warning no nothing. Just out of no where. After the K9 doesn’t alert for anything the extra cops go away and the original officer who pulled me over came back and acted like nothing happened and handed me my stuff and gave me a warning for something I didn’t even do and then he left. This was all in Idaho. Was there anything they did wrong during this?

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: Based on your description, there are several potential issues with the traffic stop and search:

1. Pretext for the stop: If you were not actually speeding (as your radar indicated), the officer may have used the alleged speeding violation as a pretext to stop you and investigate for drugs. This could be considered an unlawful stop.

2. Lack of probable cause for the search: The officer appeared to be fishing for a reason to search your vehicle by repeatedly asking about drugs or illegal items. Without probable cause or your consent, the officer should not have conducted a search.

3. Surprise K9 search: Bringing in a K9 unit without warning or probable cause could be seen as an unlawful search. The Supreme Court has ruled that extending a traffic stop to conduct a dog sniff without reasonable suspicion is unconstitutional (Rodriguez v. United States, 2015).

4. Intimidation tactics: Surrounding your vehicle with multiple officers could be viewed as an intimidation tactic to coerce you into consenting to a search.

If you believe your rights were violated, you may want to consider the following steps:

1. Document the incident in detail, including the date, time, location, and any witnesses.

2. Request and obtain a copy of the police report and any available footage from body cameras or dash cameras.

3. Consult with a civil rights attorney or a criminal defense lawyer experienced in handling police misconduct cases. They can help you assess the strength of your case and advise you on potential legal actions.

4. File a complaint with the police department's internal affairs division or a civilian oversight board, if available.

Remember, every case is unique, and the specific circumstances of your situation will determine the best course of action. Consulting with a legal professional can help you make an informed decision on how to proceed.

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