In this archive episode, Dennis revisits the topic of permissible questions during a motor vehicle stop and answers other group questions. Recorded on 11/13/2017.
State v. Hickman – 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.”
May request a motorist’s driving credentials
Should advise the motorist of the reason for the stop (Doesn’t have to!)
May run a computer check
May ask questions reasonably related to the reason for the traffic stop; **Inconsistent or contradictory answers provided by the vehicle’s occupants may then permit an officer to broaden the inquiry and ask more intrusive questions designed to confirm or dispel suspicions of criminal activity**
May issue a citation
State v Chapman (2000) http://caselaw.findlaw.com/nj-superior-court…/1035452.html
State v Hickman (2000)
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.
Thus, 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”: