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Bartlett Law Offices

Bartlett Law Offices


404 James Robertson Pkwy, Ste 1613 Nashville TN United States 37219

Parking : Private Lot, Street

About Business

The United States Supreme Court has held that persons temporarily detained pursuant to a traffic stop, even one involving some investigation regarding intoxication, are not “in custody” for the purposes of Miranda. Berkemer v. McCarty, 468 U.S. 420, 440 (1984). A traffic stop does constitute a Fourth Amendment seizure of individuals in the car. Id. at 436-37 (“Certainly few motorists would feel free either to disobey a directive to pull over or to leave the scene of a traffic stop without being told they might do so.”). For the Fifth Amendment right to counsel during police interrogation to apply, however, the driver must be in custody such that she “was subjected to restraints comparable to those associated with a formal arrest.” Id. at 443 (noting that a typical traffic stop is less coercive in nature than a police station interrogation because the stop is presumed to be a brief detention and is in a public place with police behavior in full view); see also State v. Snapp, 696 S.W.2d 370, 371 (Tenn. Crim. App. 1985) (holding that the defendant was not in custody for purposes of Miranda when police questioning occurred “at the scene of a traffic accident, on a public road, and before the defendant was transported away in a patrol car.”); State v. Timothy A.Summers, No. E2007-02127-CCA-R3-CD, Union County, slip op. at 6 (Tenn. Crim. App. Oct. 13, 2008) (holding that the defendant was seized but was not in custody when he was stopped by police at a public parking lot, questioned, and asked to perform field sobriety tasks).

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