Do I only have 15 minutes on a traffic stop to do a free air sniff?

No. Time limits no longer exist as a measure of the legality of a free air sniff during a traffic stop. Previous cases talked about “minimal intrusion” and stated various time delays of up to 15 minutes were permissible. The United States Supreme Court, however, in 2015, promulgated a different rule: the sniff must occur during the mission of the traffic stop or additional probable cause must be developed to extend that mission. This rule was announced in Rodriguez v. United States (2015) 575 U.S. 348. ““[A] relatively brief encounter,” a routine traffic stop is “more analogous to a so-called ‘Terry stop’ . . . than to a formal arrest.” Knowles v. Iowa (1998) 525 U.S. 113, 117 quoting Berkemer v. McCarty (1984) 468 U.S. 420, 439, in turn citing Terry v. Ohio (1968) 392 U.S. 1, 88. See also Arizona v. Johnson (2009) 555 U.S. 323, 330. Like a Terry stop, the tolerable duration of police inquiries in the traffic-stop context is determined by the seizure’s “mission”—to address the traffic violation that warranted the stop (Illinois v. Caballes (2005) 543 U.S. 405, 407) and attend to related safety concerns (Rodriguez, supra, at 356-357). See also United States v. Sharpe (1985) 470 U.S. 675, 685; Florida v. Royer (1983) 460 U.S. 491, 500 (plurality opinion); “The scope of the detention must be carefully tailored to its underlying justification.” Because addressing the infraction is the purpose of the stop, the stop may “last no longer than is necessary to effectuate th[at] purpose.” Ibid. See also Caballes, supra, at 407. Authority for the seizure thus ends when tasks tied to the traffic infraction are—or reasonably should have been—completed. See Sharpe, supra, at 686; (in determining the reasonable duration of a stop, “it [is] appropriate to examine whether the police diligently pursued [the] investigation”). Rodriguez, supra, at 354.

Finally, if you develop additional reasonable suspicion of another crime, other than the original infraction(s), the time in which the free air sniff can be accomplished is expanded to include investigation of the additional suspected crimes.