Florida Supreme Court rules drivers can be ordered out of vehicles for drug sweeps

Florida Supreme Court in Tallahassee
'We hold that binding Fourth Amendment precedent permits a K-9 officer arriving midway through a lawful traffic stop to command the driver to exit the vehicle for officer safety before conducting a lawful vehicle sweep.'

Police officers can order a driver they’ve pulled over out of the vehicle to ensure their safety and that of a K-9 unit conducting a drug sweep, the Florida Supreme Court ruled

Such an order doesn’t violate a driver’s Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures, Justice Renatha Francis wrote in the 5-1 opinion for the court, as prior U.S. Supreme Court precedent already allows for it.

“We hold that binding Fourth Amendment precedent permits a K-9 officer arriving midway through a lawful traffic stop to command the driver to exit the vehicle for officer safety before conducting a lawful vehicle sweep,” Francis wrote.

The case stemmed from a 2018 incident in which Tampa Police officers pulled over Joshua Creller after he maneuvered through a gas station to avoid a red light; a traffic violation. Two officers approached the vehicle, including one in plain clothes who asked Creller to search the vehicle, to which he refused.

The officer called for a K-9 unit to sweep the vehicle. The uniformed officer was still in the process of completing the citation for Creller when the K-9 unit arrived. Creller refused requests to search the vehicle and an order to exit the vehicle while the K-9 unit conducted the sweep. The officers then arrested him for obstruction and resisting without violence, and then found methamphetamine on Creller.

A lower court found in favor of the state when Creller’s attorney argued the evidence was obtained in violation of his Fourth Amendment rights and should be quashed, but the Second District Court of Appeal overturned that decision, putting it in direct conflict with a ruling from the Fifth District Court of Appeal from 2017. That prompted the Florida high court to intervene.

In his dissent, Justice Jorge Labarga cited a U.S. Supreme Court ruling from 1997, Rodriguez v. United States, which held the use of a K-9 unit sweep after a traffic stop without reasonable suspicion violated the Fourth Amendment.

“The arbitrariness of the vehicle sweep here, along with the evidence that removal was not necessary to ensure officer safety during issuance of the traffic citation, calls for us to apply Rodriguez,” Labarga wrote.

“The forced removal of a driver from the vehicle before probable cause of the existence of contraband has been established — and without any evidence that such seizure is necessary to ensure officer safety during issuance of a traffic citation — constitutes an unreasonable seizure without any justification under the Fourth Amendment.”

But Francis countered that the Rodriguez case doesn’t apply because the traffic stop was still ongoing. The officers hadn’t issued the original traffic citation yet when the K-9 unit arrived.

“In this case, the attempted sweep occurred during a lawful traffic stop, not after a traffic citation was issued,” Francis wrote.

Gray Rohrer


  • Richard D

    May 23, 2024 at 2:23 pm

    Most people don’t know about this. Before this, we had been told that it’s legal to ask the officer to show a judge’s order for the search. I’m guessing that police can enter people’s houses based on suspicions of illegal activity, without a warrant nor any material evidence of wrongdoing.

    • Ron

      May 23, 2024 at 6:33 pm

      That is categorically false. Police have never needed a warrant to search a vehicle (unless it was in the cartilage of private property and owner did not give consent).

      • Ron

        May 23, 2024 at 6:35 pm

        Reasonable suspicion is the threshold for a vehicle. Abused? Yes… “I smell Pot”

        • Dont Say FLA

          May 24, 2024 at 1:29 pm

          No human officer has ever submitted evidence of their training in officially smelling pot and being able to detect accurately from whence the smell is sourced, yet that claim is admissible in court. Why???

      • rick whitaker

        May 23, 2024 at 7:23 pm

        RON, personaly, since i don’t have anything to hide, they can search if they also catch a lot of bad guys in their net too. if you care about crime, the cops have got to search people that look like they don’t need to be searched. if i were a criminal, i would dress like a preacher.

        • Bob

          May 25, 2024 at 9:32 am

          Police have been known to plant evidence.

        • John wilks

          May 25, 2024 at 11:27 am

          When they plant something in your car you’ll change your tune

          • rick whitaker

            May 25, 2024 at 11:50 am

            JOHN WILKS, i have been subjected to a lot of police misbehavior over the years. there is not much you can do about it except elect democrats. the dems are more concerned with rights than the maga crowd.

        • Muhammad Abdullah

          May 25, 2024 at 1:57 pm

          Just because you have nothing to hide and you know you’ve done nothing wrong does not mean that you should waive your fourth amendment rights. I don’t get where this mind frame comes into. Play on giving up fundamental freedoms guaranteed by our constitution brother if we do not exercise our rights daily and makes it that much easier for those rides to become completely compromised and we can’t have that being at the stage that we are in this country.

          • Muhammad Abdullah

            May 25, 2024 at 1:58 pm

            Rights. Damn voice to text never gets it right 100% of the time

          • Adam B

            May 25, 2024 at 2:12 pm


          • rick whitaker

            May 25, 2024 at 6:16 pm

            MUHAMMAD, when crime goes up, rights go down. we have to worry when crime goes down and then rights don’t go up. democracy will keep as many rights in place as possible. the maga crowd does what the maga crowd wants to do. vote dem and help keep crime down, then maga won’t have any reason to get upset. i will waive some of my rights to get crime under control. that’s not too much to ask if you care about crime victims.

        • Adam B

          May 25, 2024 at 2:11 pm

          Wrong. The 4th amendment to our constitution was written specifically to prevent the government from random, unwarranted searches. It’s one of the pillars of our government that make us a free people. Giving cops the power to search anyone because they look funny, or because they claim they “smell pot” is authoritarian, not democratic.

          • rick whitaker

            May 25, 2024 at 6:20 pm

            ADAM B, all pot laws are garbage. violent crime is more important. pot laws create disrespect for cops, and it should.

      • Dont Say FLA

        May 24, 2024 at 1:36 pm

        Seriously? Without probable cause or towing of a vehicle for impoundment, cops cannot search a vehicle without permission of its driver, probable cause, or a search warrant.

        That’s why the cops got the dogs trained to sit down when they smell drugs or guns or whatever all they can smell, plus perhaps any other reasons the officer may have trained their dog to sit down.

        These very well trained, very pricey dogs cannot testify they never received any improper training, which makes the whole “dog as probable cause” thing just a bunch of malarkey. Yes, dogs can smell things, but nobody can prove the dogs wasn’t trained to “alert” for other things too.

        The dog smells weed it gets a treat. The dog also smells … burning oil perhaps along with weed? Eventually the dog associates burning oil smell with the treat for weed and starts to alert when it smells the smell that became associated and thus trained through experience on the job.

  • rick whitaker

    May 23, 2024 at 2:55 pm


    • Dont Say FLA

      May 24, 2024 at 1:38 pm


      Anybody thinks otherwise, drive thru a shadier part of town with your rear windows partially down. See what happens.

      Go protest something. Anything at all. See what happens.


      May 25, 2024 at 9:45 am

      It’s not supposed to be. Because if so, then what’s the pupose of having rights?

      • rick whitaker

        May 26, 2024 at 12:11 am

        MARCUS A NESBITT, i tell my friends to pick one party, and then strive to make the party you picked better. there is no perfection, grievance don’t get it done. i hate maga, so i support dems. are dems perfect, of course not.

  • Blog

    May 23, 2024 at 3:42 pm

    With down with america and abusers of farms and so on. The 4th is not going to do good.

  • My Take

    May 23, 2024 at 4:25 pm

    “The private life is dead, citizen”

    — NKVD officer in Dr. Zhivago.

  • Dont Say FLA

    May 23, 2024 at 5:04 pm

    What I keep wondering is why in TF we pay judge salaries to humans when a dog that either sits down or doesn’t sit down can do their job every bit as well as the human judges?

    • Martin rugg

      May 25, 2024 at 11:18 am

      Exactly Bob , and for that reason and many more… I detest anyone touching my rights, my things. I back the police in every way as long as they don’t….step out of the boundaries of thier position . I live in that space just past that boundary and don’t suffer any…. incursions by anyone .

  • Ron Forrest Ron

    May 23, 2024 at 5:08 pm

    And did the Fleur D’uh Supreme Court offer a maximum time for routine traffic stops that will prevent cops from slow rolling it to allow time for the cop driving the golden retriever ticket to the scene while it’s still “midway through?” Of course they didn’t.

    And how is person inside a car aka a big metal box in any danger from a dog walking around outside the car? Can these dogs break into cars like regular criminals?

    • Willie Dishman

      May 25, 2024 at 9:19 am

      Years ago they set a standard in Ohio of a certain amount of time. You could be held before the dog got there. I’m not sure if they did that here. Being a former cough, you can slow roll anything!

    • Martin rugg

      May 25, 2024 at 11:21 am

      When the cops ” bend ” the rules as do the criminals…..they become one and the same . Period .

      • Brad

        May 25, 2024 at 12:50 pm

        Martin, you hit the nail on the head with that comment and it’s absolutely a true fact!! When any type of L.E.O. doesn’t follow the rules, guidelines, code of conduct, etc they are no longer “the good guys” they have become criminals with a badge. The really sad & disconcerting part is it’s happening all over the USA and the rest of the world & very little if anything is done about it!!! The system is so flawed most of Americans don’t trust it myself included.

        • rick whitaker

          May 25, 2024 at 7:17 pm

          BRAD, when the cops first encounter you, they are suppose to think you’re a good guy. and when you first encounter a cop, you are suppose to think he is a good cop. maga has confused people. vote dem

  • Free State of Florida

    May 23, 2024 at 5:11 pm

    Free State of Florida means the powers that be are totally free to do whatever they want to me and to thee. Except of course for requiring you to vaccinate your kids so they don’t infect everybody.

    • JD

      May 25, 2024 at 1:59 pm

      Which they already took

  • Patrick Barnes

    May 23, 2024 at 7:27 pm

    The 11th court of ruled that officers have 45 minutes to hold you for the drug sniffing dog to get there.

  • Lawrence

    May 23, 2024 at 7:39 pm

    Florida and DeSantis are out of control!!! This is just one reason why we need to legalize recreational Marijuana. Also vote for the right of women to choose what is best for them. Not some politician that has no idea about a women’s body.

    • SpeshalK

      May 25, 2024 at 4:43 am

      That’s the right answer everybody

      • SpeshalK

        May 25, 2024 at 4:57 am

        The far left and far right are prime examples of what’s wrong . One Takes our rights and the other bankrupts our country and welcomes crime waves .. finish the wall shoot on site trespassers

        • rick whitaker

          May 25, 2024 at 12:02 pm

          SPESALK, you said the far right is a prime example of what’s wrong, and then you made a far right comment. so, according to your own statement, you are wrong. vote dem and you can start to relax. the dems do not bankrupt our country or welcome crime waves. get those lies out of your head if you want to be fair, if you don’t want to be fair, believe any propaganda you want.

    • Willie Dishman

      May 25, 2024 at 9:20 am

      What about the man’s rights?

    • Bob

      May 25, 2024 at 9:40 am

      The state has an interest in all its citizens. Including the unborn. Don’t think your children are yours alone.

    • Dward

      May 25, 2024 at 11:01 am

      Of course you can’t do drugs and drive right?

    • Martin rugg

      May 25, 2024 at 11:30 am

      Is that your way of saying : people should be forced to take vaccines ? I am a firm believer in as long as I don’t touch you… I can do or say anything period . As should you be as well . If you are too fient of heart to look after yourself then you can relinquish your rights to whom ever you please

      • rick whitaker

        May 25, 2024 at 12:06 pm

        MARTIN, if you are an anti vaccine, you are a nut, so who cares what a nut thinks.

  • rick whitaker

    May 23, 2024 at 7:43 pm

    LAWRENCE, drive the maga rats out of the state. alabama and tuberville would welcome them. vote democrat

    • Joe smith

      May 25, 2024 at 2:06 am

      Eat bacon you commie! Taking away constitutional rights is how communism works! You look like a bad guy, get’em!

      • rick whitaker

        May 25, 2024 at 12:10 pm

        JOE SMITH, the right-wing facist that the maga party represents is the taker away of rights. democratic socialism is not communism. you are politically ignorant. go listen to another steve bannon rant.

    • Martin rugg

      May 25, 2024 at 11:34 am

      We the people sir are in the middle of ridding our country of folks like you . Please raise your hand and wave when the lads are in your neighborhood . That way you can join like-minded rainbow folk like yourself and be happy for the rest of your life !

      • rick whitaker

        May 25, 2024 at 12:12 pm

        MARTIN RUGG, well, i’m waiting, come remove me from our country.

  • John Archibald

    May 23, 2024 at 8:01 pm

    For all you egg suckers out there, please don’t worry, because in November you will win everything, you’ll have your socialist president back and you will win the house and the Senate. So be happy and when it’s all over you can make the United States a total socialist country. Be happy.

    • Dont Say FLA

      May 24, 2024 at 1:46 pm

      The “egg suckers” had the President and the Congress before and what happened?

      Obamacare happened and now everybody can get insurance despite pre-existing conditions, and they can get insurance through a marketplace rather than some employer who leverages your health to keep you working there regardless of their abuse of you. And that’s just terrible, ain’t it.

      Also, the Rebuild America act happened, allowing for crumbling infrastructure finally to be address.

      And then the border bill was happening even without having the House, but along came a spider and sat down besider and said “No no no, cut that out, I need something to campaign on but I got nothin’ now that I screwed up our only other wedge issue, abortion” and Unelected House Speaker Trump required Elected House Speaker Mike Johnson to do as told and never bring the border bill up for a vote. Some who are paying attention might call what Trump did with Mike Johnson and the border bill “treason,” but most folks are stuck on J6 being Trump’s Treason.

      Story might say Trump is a One And Done kind of guy, but that’s only between the bed sheets. Trump has an infinite capacity for committing treasonous actions harming the USA for his personal benefit.

      • Martin rugg

        May 25, 2024 at 11:42 am

        Yours is a vote for keeping pot illegal . When your brain distorts reality like that….it becomes a concern for normal folks . Hopefully your family has retired your drivers license ? We don’t care about your sexual preference as long as it doesn’t include the children . Wish you well .

      • Martin Rugg

        May 25, 2024 at 1:26 pm

        With sheeple like you , “they ” don’t need to do anything more than tell you what to do , when to do it and take how much it cost to be your Master right out of your bank account ! If you were at the “Fair ” I’d give you a blue ribbon to match your blue politics . Cheers

    • Brad

      May 25, 2024 at 1:11 pm

      Are you under the delusion that our current president “Democrat Joe Biden” is doing a stellar or even a mediocre job at running the country and taking care of fellow Americans???

      • Martin Rugg

        May 25, 2024 at 1:30 pm

        I think he is Brad ! So he’s either a ” bot ” or a mentally challenged butt light sort of person . SOB probably moved here from N.Y. or Chicago too !

  • rick whitaker

    May 23, 2024 at 11:20 pm

    JOHN ARCHIBALD , what’s an egg sucker? i’m a democratic socialist, and almost all my friends and family are. are we egg suckers? BTW i hope your prediction comes true. you made my day thinking about it. tax cheaters and price gougers beware.

    • Martin Rugg

      May 25, 2024 at 1:40 pm

      Go be a slave where slaves are happy being such . You can’t have socialism without capitalism period . ( You can’t steal from people that have nothing ) But from your picture…. I’m sure you are beyond learning . I truly hope you and your husband both got your vacs ! It’s the most we can hope for at this point . Cheers comrade !

      • rick whitaker

        May 27, 2024 at 11:58 am

        MARTIN RUGG , your comment was incomprehensible, yet full of vitriol.

  • Gwen

    May 24, 2024 at 7:54 am

    Wow, police state is right. Communism here we come. Civil rights are going going gone. Get ready for a different salute and mandatory at that. What doesn’t step on your toes today will tomorrow.

    • Dont Say FLA

      May 24, 2024 at 9:52 am

      Mandatory hat: Red MAGA
      Mandatory salute: Jerking 2 guys off at once

  • Pox on Rona

    May 24, 2024 at 7:58 am

    Slipping into darkness. What a sad state of affairs. Well, at least all that GOP disrespect for the rule of law is appreciated by all but one of Florida’s Supreme Court Justices. I call newspeak on Rona’s Florida – where Freedom comes to die. Pox on Rona and his facist packed court.

  • Concerned Citizen

    May 25, 2024 at 8:21 am

    Another blow to freedom in Florida. Sorry, but we do have to draw lines of enforcement. Getting pulled over for cutting through a gas station to avoid a red light is one thing, it’s quite another to use any excuse in the book to pull over citizens so they can really just search your vehicle. Love how many maga’s think they’re the protectors of freedom when in truth what they have mostly voted for is restricted freedoms for the average citizen. Their policies always have police state and religious dogma as guideposts.

    • True

      May 25, 2024 at 10:37 am

      It’s 100% true. The same group controls us through both sides.

      • Martin rugg

        May 25, 2024 at 11:49 am

        Don’t expect many to understand that it’s a one party state….and you and I are not…invited . Ben Franklin said it best : no government can remain ” healthy ” without a revaluation at least ..every 200 years . ” And this crap we are suffering proves the wisdom in that statement .

    • rick whitaker

      May 25, 2024 at 6:31 pm

      CONCERNED CITIZEN, maga cultist often vote against their own interest. it must be awful to be politically stupid,

  • Ron DeMond

    May 25, 2024 at 8:36 am

    Nobody realizes that all the clowns in washington are playing us against each other.If they can keep us fighting each other not them both parties kerp their
    power trips running.TERM LIMITS PEOPLE

    • Martin rugg

      May 25, 2024 at 11:56 am

      Yes Ron , it’s a one una party . Not democrat not rino or Republican . It’s us and THEM . Period . In just this last package they ALL signed… they each get nearly 700 ,000 bonus EACH ! Over and above their other ill gotten gains . (No government can remain healthy without a revaluation at least every 200 years ) Benjamin Franklin

  • Ralph Crandom

    May 25, 2024 at 9:44 am

    This falls back to when the seat belt law went into effect. They used the excuse that driving is a privilege and not a right. And that’s how they got around the 4th amendment to steal money from the American citizens. But no matter what, don’t have anything illegal and you won’t have to worry about it.

    • Martin Rugg

      May 25, 2024 at 1:48 pm

      I would challenge the b.s. that says driving is a privilege…..that is a bogus statement ” they ” made-up to tell “us ” when we were young and ignorant . And we repeated it so many times that. ” We ” believe it was truth . You don’t even need a license to move about freely in any form of transportation . It’s just easier to ( comply ) damned sad

    • Dont Say FLA

      May 25, 2024 at 7:11 pm

      Roads are paved with taxpayer gold and are useless to most Americans without owning and driving a car.

      Doesn’t that old “taxation without representation” thing mean anything anymore?

  • Aida

    May 25, 2024 at 10:53 am

    I lived in a fascist country long ago. All you making comments, about FL and governor being fascist is hilarious. You have no idea what a fascist government, or governor for that matter, is. Even less, Communist. But FL, and De Santis are Not. Ignorance is no excuse….

    • rick whitaker

      May 25, 2024 at 12:26 pm

      AIDA, it’s a metamorphosis. fascism is a thing that happens when the environment allows it’s growth. desantis and his gang are changing florida into a more fascist like state. you don’t seem to see the forest for the trees.

    • Dont Say FLA

      May 25, 2024 at 7:14 pm

      What did people in your country long ago have to say about the pre-Fascists who did officially, according to you, become Fascists?

      What sorts of things did your pre-Fascists say to convince everyone their Fascism was a good idea?

  • William Price

    May 26, 2024 at 12:01 pm

    US Supreme Court has ruled that a driver can only be held long enough to write a citation, around 15 minutes. You hold someone for 45 min. while you slow walk the citation and use the excuse, “The citation had been written before K9 arrived is pure bs. Using that analogy, you can take all day long to drag out the traffic stop. This is clearly in violation of the recent US Supreme Court ruling. If this goes to the USSC, it will be reversed.

  • William Price

    May 26, 2024 at 12:03 pm

    In my post I ment the citation had nor been written. Could nor edit it. Sorry.

  • Balls

    May 28, 2024 at 10:30 am

    Flea State of Florida, the state where dogs tell people what to do.

    Try as the dogs might to make Floridians be the people their dogs think they are, the people are meezerble hay holes anyway because their sense of smell doesn’t work anymore due to the cocaine meth fentanyl.

    Folks figure they can’t smell each others hay holes, so they’ll just be hay holes to each other.

    Poor Ole Yeller. Good dog. Bad people

Comments are closed.


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