Absent reasonable suspicion, police extension of a traffic stop in order to conduct a dog sniff violates Constitution even if it’s only seven or eight minutes. A traffic stop becomes unlawful if it is prolonged beyond the time reasonably required to complete the mission of issuing the ticket. This could include checking driver licenses, inspecting the registration and insurance, and checking for outstanding warrants. See Rodriguez v. U.S., U.S. Supreme Court, Docket 13-9972, 4/21/15.
The U.S. Supreme further erodes the protection of the 4th Amendment against unreasonable searches in most recent case. A North Carolina police officer stops a car for having only one taillight. Under N.C. law, you only have to have one taillight. Driver gives cop permission to search. Cop finds illegal drugs. Circuit court rules the cop didn’t have probable cause to stop vehicle and search was unreasonable. Supreme Court rules cops should be forgiven for not knowing the law–mistakes are compatible with reasonable suspicion. See Supreme Court of the U.S., Heien v. North Carolina, No. 13-604, decided 12/15/14.
The U.S. Supreme Court has muddied the water regarding reasonableness of warrantless searches. In a recent case, the justices reviewed a 3rd Cir. case that involved the “knock and talk” exception to the warrant requirement. This allows police to enter any property where the public may also enter such as a sidewalk and front porch. Here the police entered the property through a rear carport and walked onto the rear deck without a warrant. The high court said that the entry was not illegal simply because it was through a rear entry, and went on to say that police officers are allowed to go to any door that a visitor may go. So if you want the police out of your backyard, lock it up. See U.S. Supreme, JEREMY CARROLL v. ANDREW CARMAN, No. 14–212. Decided November 10, 2014.