We granted certiorari to resolve a division among lower courts on the question whether police routinely may extend an otherwise-completed traffic stop, absent reasonable suspicion, in order to conduct a dog sniff....
We hold that a police stop exceeding the time needed to handle thematter for which the stop was made violates the Constitution’s shield against unreasonable seizures. A seizure justified only by a police-observed traffic violation, therefore, becomes unlawful if it is prolonged beyond the time reasonably required to complete the mission of issuing a ticket for the violation.
Because addressing the infraction is the purpose of the stop, it may “last no longer than is necessary to effectuate th[at] purpose.” Ibid. See also Caballes, 543 U. S., at 407. Authority for the seizure thus ends when tasks tied to the traffic infraction are—or reasonably should have been—completed. See Sharpe, 470 U. S., at 686 (in determining the reasonable durationof a stop, “it [is] appropriate to examine whether the policediligently pursued [the] investigation”).
Beyond determining whether to issue a traffic ticket, anofficer’s mission includes “ordinary inquiries incident to[the traffic] stop.” Caballes, 543 U. S., at 408. Typicallysuch inquiries involve checking the driver’s license, determining whether there are outstanding warrants against the driver, and inspecting the automobile’s registration and proof of insurance
A dog sniff, by contrast, is a measure aimed at “detect[ing] evidence of ordinary criminal wrongdoing.” Indianapolis v. Edmond, 531 U. S. 32, 40–41 (2000).
If an officer can complete traffic-basedinquiries expeditiously, then that is the amount of “time reasonably required to complete [the stop’s] mission.” Caballes, 543 U. S., at 407. As we said in Caballes and reiterate today, a traffic stop “prolonged beyond” thatpoint is “unlawful.” Ibid. The critical question, then, is not whether the dog sniff occurs before or after the officer issues a ticket, as JUSTICE ALITO supposes, post, at 2–4, but whether conducting the sniff “prolongs”—i.e., adds time to—“the stop,” supra, at 6.
Query: does this sentence read right:
JUSTICE KENNEDY, dissenting.
My join in JUSTICE THOMAS’ dissenting opinion does not extend to Part III.
Thomas wrote this in dissent:
Because the stop was reasonably executed, no Fourth Amendment violation occurred. The Court’s holding to the contrary cannot be reconciled with our decision in Caballes or a number of common police practices.
Query: Should the Supreme Court decide fourth amendment cases based on "a number of common police practices" ?
Should what the police do be a yardstick in determining reasonableness under the fourth amendment?
Thomas seems to think so, and yet, in part II of the opinion he writes this:
We have spurned theories that would make the Fourth Amendment “change with local law enforcement practices.”
Thomas cites Terry v. Ohio with approval:
This Court created an exception to that rule [requiring probable cause] in Terry v. Ohio, 392 U. S. 1 (1968), permitting “police officers who suspect criminal activity to make limitedintrusions on an individual’s personal security based onless than probable cause,”
Query: Since a Terry Stop is a judicially created exception, reading into the constitution words for an exception that the founders never wrote nor contemplated, what in the world is Thomas, of all the justices, doing citing Terry with approval?
Anyway, the fourth amendment struggles on, doing just a bit better today because of the Notorious RBG.
See you in court.