Unreasonable Roadside Detention

How long can an officer detain you on the side of the road? At what point does the detention become unreasonable? The standard is the Fourth Amendment. If there is an ongoing and unfolding situation, an officer can keep you as long as necessary to conduct their investigation. In many cases, though, an officer may detain a person for a certain length of time just to hand the suspect off to another officer. As most DUI arrests occur between 11 P.M. and 2 A.M., when shift changes usually occur, this is not an uncommon practice. A search can be considered unreasonable when it is delayed for “officer’s convenience” rather than as part of an investigation. There is no statutory law on this matter, only case law.

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