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Berkemer v. McCarty

The Questioning Of Mccarty

While driving on 31 March 1980, Richard McCarty's car wove in and out of the lanes on Interstate 270 in Ohio, according to Trooper Williams, who followed McCarty and pulled him over. When Williams asked McCarty to get out of the car, he saw McCarty could barely stand up. Williams concluded that McCarty had been driving while under the influence of intoxicants. Williams made McCarty perform a sobriety test to examine his balancing skills to confirm his suspicion and McCarty failed it. Williams next asked McCarty if he had recently taken any intoxicants and McCarty responded that he drank two beers and smoked some marijuana shortly before driving. After that, Williams placed McCarty under arrest and took him to jail in a patrol car.

The police administered a breathalyzer test at the jail to find out the level of alcohol in McCarty's blood; however, the test showed no presence of alcohol in McCarty, so Williams continued questioning him. While filling out the State Highway Patrol Alcohol Influence Report, Williams asked McCarty if he was under the influence of alcohol and McCarty responded, "I guess, barely." Williams then asked if the marijuana McCarty smoked had been laced with any chemicals or other drugs. Williams wrote on the form, "No ang[el] dust or PCP in the pot." However, throughout the questioning at the roadside and at the police station no one--neither Williams nor any other police officer--informed McCarty of his Miranda rights: his right not to answer the questions, his right to an attorney, and his right to have a state attorney appointed, if he needed.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1981 to 1988Berkemer v. McCarty - Miranda Warnings, The Questioning Of Mccarty, Were Mccarty's Rights Violated?