Traffic Stop; Prolonged Detention
During a valid traffic stop, LE observed that the rear windows were partially down, which was unusual for the very cold weather. LE opined that based on training and experience drug traffickers were known to drive with the windows down to dissipate the odor of drugs. As LE approached, driver was moving around, appearing to hide something between the seats or in the center console. LE smelled the overwhelming odor of air freshener. Inside the vehicle was one air freshener tree and a spray bottle of air freshener readily accessible to driver on the passenger seat. Driver was not wearing any winter clothing, and none was visible in the passenger compartment. LE informed driver he would be getting a warning and went back to cruiser to write citation. LE also called for a PSD team to come and perform a sniff. LE testified that when he questioned driver about the presence of drugs, driver’s voice changed, but the recordings of the contact do not support that. Driver also explained that the car belonged to his brother. LE then asked if LE asked for permission to search, what would driver’s response be? Driver said, “Yeah, that’s fine.” However, it was not clear if driver was agreeing with the statement or actually giving consent to search (based on the way the question was asked). LE then told the PSD team he had consent. PSD team responded they were on their way. About a minute later, driver revoked his consent twice. LE then completed the warning citation. However, LE continued to question driver about subjects unrelated to the traffic stop. Driver said again he wanted to leave and LE said he was going to wait for the drug dog who was just down the road. Driver then said he did not want his trunk searched because he had a lot of luggage and he did not want it torn apart. It took another 10 minutes for the PSD team to arrive, which was a total of 22 minutes into the stop. The court was not impressed with the reasoning of LE regarding the additional reasonable suspicion that would have allowed for additional detention time. The court actually engaged in what other cases have prohibited: taking each factor and applying a non-criminal explanation for it. After that analysis, the court found prolonged detention.