4 Tips Concerning DUI Arrests and Miranda Rights
You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney and have them present with you while you are being questioned. If you cannot afford to hire an attorney, one will be appointed to represent you before any questioning if you wish. You may decide at any time to exercise these rights and not answer any questions or make any statements.
Sound familiar? Littered across film and television, odds are you have definitely heard an actor recite the Miranda Rights to another actor at some point. Let’s hope it is the only form in which you ever have to hear those words. Because if a police officer is reciting your Miranda Rights to you, it is because you have been arrested and are being held in police custody pending interrogation.
Your Miranda Rights, which can also be referred to as the Miranda warning, is a right to silence warning given by the police. These rights are usually read to criminal suspects who are being held in police custody for the purpose of a custodial interrogation. Additionally, these rights must be read to suspects before they are interrogated in order to preserve the admissibility of their statements against them in court. However, these rights only need to be read to you if you have been arrested and are being held for interrogation.
Here are some things every driver should be aware of when they are out on the road. The following sections will help you understand what Miranda Rights are, how they protect you, what your options are if they have been read to you and what happens if they are not read to you.
When Should My Miranda Rights Be Read?
After you have been pulled over by a police officer, they will likely ask you some questions about whether you have been drinking or not. The officer does not need to read you your Miranda Rights at this point because you are not being held in police custody. In fact, you may politely refuse to answer questions about where you are coming from, where you might be going or why you might be driving erratically.
After you have been arrested, the police are required to read you your Miranda rights. The police are supposed to read the defendant their Miranda rights prior to the commencement of the interrogation. To clarify, interrogation questions typically include the following:
- Where were you?
- How much did you drink?
- What did you drink?
- How many drinks did you consume over the last few hours?
- Are you taking any prescription medication?
- Have you consumed any drugs?
Questions like these are subject to the Miranda rules only after you have been arrested and are being held in police custody to be interrogated.
What If My Miranda Rights Were Violated?
It is important to understand that any questions a police officer asks you when he pulls you over are not subject to the Miranda rules. Therefore, are not admissible in court. Any answers you provide when you are first pulled over cannot be used to incriminate you in court.
However, if you have been arrested and interrogated without your Miranda rights having been read to you first, there could be an issue. The answers to these questions will then be subject to a hearing. At the hearing, it will be determined if those statements can be suppressed. A suppression of evidence means that a prosecutor will not be able to use those statements against you at a trial. Additionally, a judge will decide if your rights were violated.
If your Miranda Rights were not read to you, it can actually help your attorney build a stronger defense for you in court. Even if you actually have been drinking and driving. However, this does not mean that your charge will be automatically dismissed.
How Can I Invoke My Miranda Rights?
The Miranda Rights become very important for anybody who is being arrested or has been placed in custody. Once you are in custody, and the police want to interrogate you, their obligation is to inform you of your Miranda Rights. Under the stipulations of the Miranda Rights, you have two rights:
- you have the right to remain silent
- you have the right to an attorney
You may invoke either right, or both once your rights have been read. It is very important for you to take advantage of this privilege.
If you do not invoke your Miranda Rights, you are implying that you waive that right and are now consenting to questioning by the police. If you do this, anything you say may be used to incriminate you in court.
Will My Charge Be Dismissed If My Rights Were Violated?
If the police officer makes a valid arrest, but does not read you your Miranda Rights, it does not imply that your case will be dismissed. It further does not invalidate the arrest. Moreover, if they did not interrogate you, it does not imply that your case has been dismissed. It is still a valid arrest because they likely never had an opportunity to ask questions that might incriminate you. Also note that if the police officer does not interrogate you, then the fact that they did not read you the Miranda rights is no longer relevant. Your case will not be dismissed because they did not read it to you.
For example, if the police pulled you over and they asked you if you’ve been drinking, you’re not under arrest yet. Therefore, he does not need to read you your Miranda Rights yet. Those questions are valid and you may politely refuse to answer them. You also do not need a lawyer present if you do choose to answer them. But let’s say after you answer those questions, you are taken out of the car and asked to perform some field sobriety tests, following which they decide to arrest you. This triggers the need for your rights to be read to you.
However, if they don’t read you your Miranda Rights, this doesn’t create an automatic flaw in your case. The Miranda Rights really pertain to the admissibility of statements against you, not necessarily any other evidence against you.
If the police officer does arrest you legally, does not read you your Miranda Rights, and then starts questioning you while in custody or when you get back to the police department, then these statements are subject to a suppression.
This means that these questions and answers are subject to be excluded from evidence at a trial. This suppression hearing would be done in front of the judge. The judge will decide whether or not that evidence could be introduced against the individual at the trial. However, the mere fact that this happened does not invalidate an arrest.