In this archive episode, Dennis revisits Miranda on your motor vehicle stops and answers some group questions. Recorded on 11/16/2017.

The question posed in this case by the officer was, “You look really nervous, do you have something on you that you should surrender right now? Any contraband, weapons, anything like that?”

Defendant admitted to it and handed over a bag of cocaine from his shoe.

When the police lawfully conduct a motor vehicle stop they may question the occupants, even on a subject unrelated to the purpose of the stop, without violating the Fourth Amendment, so long as such questioning does not extend the duration of the stop.

Roadside questioning of a motorist is not transformed into “custodial interrogation” that must be preceded by Miranda warnings simply because a police officer’s questioning is accusatory in nature or designed to elicit incriminating evidence.

According to the court the brief questioning of the defendant after the lawful motor vehicle stop of the car in which he was the passenger was perfectly valid.

A traffic stop is presumptively temporary and brief and thus questioning incident to an ordinary traffic stop is quite different from stationhouse interrogation.

Miranda warnings may be needed, however, if the totality of the circumstances surrounding the stop “impose a restraint on freedom of movement of the degree associated with a formal arrest.”

However this is changed when you smell marijuana with the intention to arrest for the odor.


In Berkemer, the Court held that a police officer was not required to give Miranda warnings to a suspected drunk driver before asking him whether “he had been using intoxicants.”

Similarly, in State v. Toro, 229 N.J.Super. 215, 551 A.2d 170 (App.Div.1988), we held that police officers who observed a package at the foot of a driver stopped for a motor vehicle offense, which they suspected was a container for drugs, could ask what was in the package without giving Miranda warnings.

Although the police officers in Toro ordered the driver out of the car and frisked him for weapons before questioning him, we concluded that the questioning was not “custodial”:…/1988/229-n-j-super-215-0.html

Ohio v. Robinette (1996) US Supreme Court ….There is no requirement under the 4th Amendment that police, during the course of a motor vehicle stop or other investigative detention, must advise the person detained that he or she is “Free to go” before a consent search may be lawfully obtained.