In 2005, the United States Supreme Court changed the law regarding police stops. Before Illinois v Caballes, police needed specific and articulable facts to change the nature of a stop. After 2005, an officer could change the nature of the stop as long as the stop was not unduly prolonged. In other words, an officer could have a narcotics dog sniff your car even if the officer had no reason to suspect you had drugs as long as the stop wasn’t unduly prolonged.

However, the law on what “unduly prolonged” may mean continues to evolve. In April, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court in Rodriguez v United States, held that an officer who gets his work done quickly cannot use the time saved to fish around for evidence of other wrong doing.

Following Rodriguez, an Illinois Appellate court has held that an officer unduly prolonged the stop when he interrupted writing traffic citations to conduct a canine sniff of the defendant’s car. People v Pulling. The state argued that the stop was not unduly prolonged because it took no longer than it would to write a couple traffic tickets. The court disagreed. If the officer “had completed the tickets prior to or after the free-air sniff, the stop still would have been prolonged by this unrelated investigation that was not supported by independent reasonable suspicion.” Further, the court stated that the defendant’s agreeing to the canine sniff did not make the prolonged stop legal.

If you are charged with DUI or another offense, contact an experienced attorney immediately. An attorney may review your case for your best possible defense. If the police acted improperly, the attorney may be able to petition the court to suppress the evidence from any search. Even if this is not possible and the evidence against you is overwhelming, an attorney who is respected in the courthouse may be able to negotiate a more favorable plea agreement than you could on your own.

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

About mdkeenan

A criminal and school law attorney with over 17 years of experience, I have successfully represented clients all over the Chicago area. My practice includes DUI, felony, criminal, misdemeanor, homicide, internet crime, retail theft, traffic offenses, cyberstalking, drug crimes, weapons violations, domestic battery and juvenile crime. I also represent families involving school cases. My clients come from all over the Chicago area including Skokie, Wilmette, Niles, Northbrook, Glenview, Evanston, Winnetka, Highland park, Northfield, Park Ridge, Des Plaines and Mount Prospect. I am a member of the ACLU and the Illinois State Bar Association. I serve as a volunteer for First Defense Legal Aid. Se habla espanol.
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