Was it legal for this cop to do this at a traffic stop?

Asked over 1 year ago - Hawthorne, CA

I was pulled of for speeding. I was so scared because I had some weed on me. I began shaking and stuttering. The cop asked me if I was okay. He reached in my window and touched my heart (I'm a guy). He said, "What's wrong sir?" Then he asked if I had any drugs or weapons in the car andI told him I did not. Then he asked me "Are you sure, your heart is pounding?" He asked if I would mind if he checked my car and I politely declined. He then went back to his patrol car and next thing I know, a K9 car arrives. The officer made the dog sniff the car and the dam Shepard picked up a drug scent. The officer then told me to exit the car. They searched the car and discovered the weed and arrested me. Was it lawful for him to do that even though I declined? That's a violation of my 4th amendment!

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Craig M. Sams

    Contributor Level 7

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    Answered . A canine search of the exterior of a vehicle is not a 4th Amendment violation as long as the amount of time that it took for the K9 unit to arrive was reasonable. Once the dog smelled the drugs, the officer had probable cause to conduct a full search of the vehicle. You probably have the right to a public defender if you can't afford a private attorney. Good luck!

  2. Nathan Douglas Wente

    Pro

    Contributor Level 12

    Answered . You should get an attorney to assist you with this. His having reached in your car and touched you may or may not have been legal. If it was illegal and his observations of your heart beating assisted in providing justification for the extended stop then the extended stop may be unreasonable. The officer was only entitled to stop you long enough to issue you a ticket - not search for drugs (unless further observations justified an extended detention). These sorts of things are heavily fact dependent and you will need a lawyer to assist.

    Get one - public defender or private counsel.

    No attorney-client relationship is formed by this communication. Any recommendation/information given through... more
  3. Alan James Brinkmeier

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . Probabe cause arose for the search when the canine did the sniff. A Fourth Amendment search must be unreasonable to be a constitutional violation of your Bill of Rights freedoms.

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