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Miranda & DUI

I was arrested for DUI; I wasn’t read my rights (Miranda Warnings). Can I beat the case because I was given my rights?

This is a much harder question than you would think. The basic misconception about Miranda Warnings, or “your rights” is that the police must give them to people every time they make an arrest. This completely not true. The only time that Miranda Warning must be read is a custodial interrogation. That means that you have to be in custody and not free to leave, and that you are being questioned.

Many scenarios come up where you would not be entitled to your rights. For example, if the police see you commit a crime and simply arrest you. You would not get your rights because they would not question you. Another instance is where the police stop you on the street and ask you if you would chat with them. This is not custodial, so again you would not get your rights.

There are exceptions to the Miranda rules. In DUI cases, you do not get Miranda Warnings before you take a breath or blood test. The rationale is complicated but the end result is that your blood levels would change while waiting for the lawyer to arrive, so they can take your blood or breath without giving you your rights.

The interesting part of the question regarding Miranda Warnings with DUI cases, is at the very beginning of the case. When the initial stop is made, if there is an accident or the driver stinks like booze, what officer would every let the driver leave the scene? Therefore, the driver is not free to leave and is in custody. So, if the police officer asks the driver, “have you been drinking?” Any answer to that question is a Miranda violation and should be suppressed.

The question was can I beat my case based on this violation? I don’t think you can because the police officer could have arrested you for DUI even without asking you if you had been drinking. Therefore, even if you get the statement suppressed, the chemical testing is still going to come into evidence and police officer’s observations are still coming into evidence, and that might be enough for many judges for a conviction.

Miranda Warnings & DUI
Miranda Warnings & DUI

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