Law Enforcement Bulletin

Sign up for newsletters and other news
Media > Newsletters > Law Enforcement Bulletin > September 2015 > State v. Salinas 2015 Ohio 3501

Law Enforcement Bulletin RSS feeds

State v. Salinas 2015 Ohio 3501

Question: Can an officer continue to interrogate a suspect after locating contraband and placing him in handcuffs?

Quick Answer: Generally, no. Miranda must be read and waived in order for the officer to continue any questioning designed to elicit an incriminating response.

Facts: A trooper conducted a traffic stop on Salinas for following too closely. Upon making contact it was determined that Salinas did not have a driver’s license. Salinas was asked to exit the car, and prior to being placed in the cruiser, the trooper asked for and received consent to pat Salinas down. During the pat down the trooper felt a plastic baggie and asked what it was. Salinas remarked “you got me” and pulled out a plastic baggie with suspected cocaine from his pants pocket. After handcuffing Salinas, the trooper continued questioning, and Salinas made incriminating statements relating to being in the country illegally, planning to sell the cocaine locally, and referencing how much cocaine he possessed. The court concluded the encounter became custodial when Salinas was handcuffed and the trooper asked questions eliciting these responses. Since the trooper did not Mirandize Salinas before continuing with this line of questioning, the court suppressed Salinas’ incriminating statements.

Keep in Mind: As a general rule, roadside questioning during a routine traffic stop is not considered to be a custodial interrogation. However, if the encounter becomes custodial in nature, officers must read Miranda prior to further questioning.