U.S. Supreme Court
Pennsylvania v. Bruder, 488 U.S. 9 (1988)
Pennsylvania v. Bruder
Decided October 31, 1988
488 U.S. 9
After his vehicle was stopped by a police officer, respondent Bruder took field sobriety tests and, in answer to questions, stated that he had been drinking. He failed the tests, and was then arrested and given Miranda warnings. At his trial, his statements and conduct before arrest were admitted into evidence, and he was convicted of driving while under the influence of alcohol. The Pennsylvania Superior Court reversed the conviction on the ground that the statements that Bruder uttered during the roadside questioning were elicited through custodial interrogation, and should have been suppressed for lack of Miranda warnings.
Held: Bruder was not entitled to a recitation of his constitutional rights prior to arrest, and his roadside responses to questioning were admissible. The rule of Berkemer v. McCarty, 468 U. S. 420 -- that ordinary traffic stops do not involve custody for the purposes of Miranda -- governs this case. Although unquestionably a seizure, this stop had the same noncoercive aspects as the Berkemer detention: a single police officer asking Bruder a modest number of questions and requesting him to perform simple tests in a location visible to passing motorists.
Certiorari granted; 365 Pa.Super. 106, 528 A.2d 1385, reversed.