State v. Vetter (2019) 2019 ND 138

Traffic Stop; Prolonged Detention

Traffic stop for speeding by handler. Handler notes that after the car stops, the car starts rocking like occupants are moving around. Upon contact, handler notes an open container of alcohol. Handler does FSTs on driver and occupant. They are clear so handler brings driver to his cruiser to write a warning. During this, another LE arrives. Handler asked this LE to take over the warning citation while he runs his PSD around the car. LE consents and continues with the citation. PSD alerts.

The North Dakota Supreme Court held that the standard under Rodriguez does not include minor inefficiencies. “Absent evidence of an officer deliberately delaying a stop so that, for example, a drug detecting dog may arrive (citation omitted), such minor inefficiencies in traffic stops are unlikely to establish a Fourth Amendment violation.” “There is no reason an officer needs to use a stop watch or avoid incidental conversation about fishing or the weather to reasonably accomplish the mission of the (traffiic) stop.” “[T]he sixteen seconds the officer spend asking about whether the shaking of the car was due to concealment of contraband and the short time spent handing off the ticket writing did not extend the time of the stop such that (driver) would have been free to go before the dog alerted to the car.”