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Zoey, JD
Zoey, JD, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 23964
Experience:  Active member of the NYS bar since 1989
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My son was stopped by police last night. The canine unit

Customer Question

My son was stopped by police last night. The canine unit came in and the officer said they were going to impound his car and get a search warrant. He wasn't allowed to take his phone or wall or anything from the car . Is this legal
Submitted: 19 days ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 19 days ago.

Hi,

I'm Zoey and I'll be assisting you. I'm reviewing your question now.

Why did they stop him? How did the canine unit get involved?

Customer: replied 19 days ago.
They stopped him because the car was not yet registered in his name..he had not transferred the title yet. They brought in the canine and said they were going to impound the car and get a search warrant from the judge.
Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 19 days ago.

Thank you. I please give me a few minutes to finish typing my reply.

Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 19 days ago.

The police had a valid reason for the stop, which was traffic related. An unregistered car cannot be driven, so they are entitled to impound it. They already had a basis to arrest your son, so they could impound his car and its contents incident to that arrest and then get a warrant to search the car and the phone. All of that would appear to be proper if all was as you said.

There is a fairly recent US Supreme Court case, Rodriguez v. United States, however, which holds that police cannot unreasonably extend a traffic stop for the sole purpose of bringing in the canine unit. So the issue of whether the police violated your son's 4th Amendment rights would depend on what how long he had to wait for the dog to arrive.

As a result of the possibility that his constitutional rights were violated, he would be entitled to a pre-trial suppression hearing to look into issue if he wants to fight the case and take it to trial. If he wins that hearing, any drugs recovered from his vehicle as a result of the illegal search could be suppressed.

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