from the District Court of Cass County, East Central Judicial
District, the Honorable John C. Irby, Judge.
S. Olson (appeared), Assistant State's Attorney, and
Nicholas Samuelson (argued), third-year law student, under
the Rule on Limited Practice of Law by Law Students, Fargo,
N.D., for plaintiff and appellee.
T. Heck, Fargo, N.D., for defendant and appellant.
Dylan Vetter appeals from a criminal judgment entered after
his conditional guilty plea to possession of controlled
substances and drug paraphernalia. Vetter argues the deputy
sheriff who stopped him for speeding lacked reasonable
suspicion to believe Vetter's car contained contraband
and unlawfully expanded the scope of the traffic stop by
inquiring whether there were any illegal items in
Vetter's vehicle and by conducting a canine sniff around
the car. We affirm, concluding the district court did not err
in denying Vetter's motion to suppress evidence because
the stop was not expanded in violation of the Fourth
On March 1, 2018, around 11:35 p.m., Deputy Chad Thompson
stopped Vetter for a speeding violation. Thompson is trained
to handle a drug detection dog. His dog Zena was with him
that night in his patrol vehicle. Before he approached
Vetter's vehicle, but after it had come to a stop,
Thompson noticed it rocking back and forth and saw two
occupants moving around inside. He believed the occupants
were trying to move or hide something. Thompson approached
the vehicle, where he saw Vetter in the driver's seat.
While talking with Vetter, Thompson saw an open alcoholic
beverage can on the floor by Vetter's feet. In response
to Thompson's questions, Vetter admitted he'd had a
few drinks earlier. Thompson asked Vetter to come back to the
patrol car, where he further questioned Vetter regarding
consumption of alcohol. Vetter consented to field sobriety
tests, including a preliminary breath test, none of which
indicated impairment. After administering the tests, Thompson
asked Vetter if there was anything illegal in his vehicle.
Vetter denied having anything illegal in his vehicle.
Corporal Hedin arrived during this questioning. Deputy
Thompson got out of his patrol car and asked Hedin to write
Vetter a warning ticket. While Hedin wrote the warning
ticket, Thompson and K-9 Zena conducted a canine sniff of
Vetter's vehicle. Zena alerted on the passenger side
door. The vehicle was then searched, and controlled
substances and drug paraphernalia were discovered. Vetter
filed a motion to suppress the evidence resulting from the
search. The district court denied the motion to suppress,
after which Vetter entered a conditional guilty plea to
possession of controlled substances and drug paraphernalia.
Because the issue before us turns on whether the stop was
expanded in time or in scope, we include immediately below a
detailed time line of relevant events during the stop as it
appears in the video recording of the stop presented to the
district court. All times are in the eleven o'clock p.m.
35:23 Deputy Thompson activates his flashing lights to
initiate a stop of Vetter's vehicle.
36:45 Thompson introduces himself to Vetter, explains
speeding was the reason for the stop, and asks for
registration and insurance.
37:33 Vetter hands Thompson papers.
37:33 Thompson looks at the papers and looks into the car.
37:44 Thompson inquires if Vetter has any open alcohol in the
car and says he sees Vetter is trying to hide a Twisted Tea
can with his foot. Vetter says he was fishing earlier and
hands the can to Thompson. Thompson asks for the registration
card again. Vetter hands it to him.
38:35 Thompson asks Vetter to come back to the squad car.
While Vetter is walking back to the squad car, Thompson asks
if he has any weapons on him. Vetter says he does not.
Thompson tells Vetter to put out his cigarette and sit in the
39:03 Vetter and Thompson enter the squad car. Once in the
car, Thompson shows Vetter the "locked speed." He
asks how much Vetter drank that night, when was the last
drink, and if Vetter feels fine to drive. Vetter responds he
is fine and mentions he was in Napoleon visiting his dad.
40:41 Thompson inquires into the condition of Vetter's
eyes, asks to see them, and conducts a Horizontal Gaze
42:17 Vetter initiates conversation about the weather. They
lapse into ...