The Fourth Department determined defendant, although handcuffed and seated on the backseat of a police car, was not in custody such that his answers to questions, including whether he had anything to drink, should be suppressed. The officer observed defendant commit several traffic infractions, then the defendant got out of the car, staggering. The defendant would not stop and go back to his car when the officer told him to. When the officer caught up to him he smelled alcohol. The officer then handcuffed the defendant and had him sit on the backseat of the police car with his feet outside the car on the ground:
Contrary to defendant’s contention, we conclude that his answers to the sergeant’s questions were not the product of a custodial interrogation requiring Miranda warnings. ” It is well established that not every forcible detention constitutes an arrest’ ” … and, under the circumstances noted above, we agree with the court that the sergeant’s use of handcuffs did not transform the detention into a de facto arrest. Rather, the sergeant’s use of the handcuffs to effect the detention was warranted in light of the threat that defendant might take additional evasive action … .
We further conclude that seating defendant on the back seat of the police vehicle did not transform the sergeant’s questioning into a custodial interrogation. The sergeant lawfully, although forcibly, detained defendant for investigatory purposes based on his observation of defendant committing several traffic infractions … . Given defendant’s visible intoxication, staggering gait, and prior evasive actions, a ” less intrusive means of fulfilling the police investigation’ ” than seating defendant partially in the police vehicle ” was not readily apparent’ ” … . Here, the sergeant’s “action fell short of the level of intrusion upon defendant’s liberty and privacy that constitutes an arrest” … . In addition, the sergeant’s questions were investigatory rather than custodial in nature … . People v Mcdonald, 2019 NY Slip Op 04546, Fourth Dept 6-7-19