DUI and Miranda Rights
One common question people ask of us, and a question almost every DUI Defense Attorney gets, is about a DUI and Miranda Rights, specifically, , “Do the police have to read Miranda Rights for a DUI?”
Most people who watch TV know what Miranda Rights are may even know them off by heart. What you may not know about the Miranda Rights, is that the police do not necessarily have to read them to you, especially if you are being arrested for a DUI in Orange County. However, this does not mean that they cannot use evidence against, but it may narrow the limit of what evidence they can use.
Here is what you need to know about your Miranda Rights and how they affect DUI arrests:
Miranda warnings serve to remind those who are in police custody that they have certain constitutional rights under the Fifth Amendment, such as the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. But, these rights only pertain to a person who is already in police custody and is about to be interrogated in relation to a crime. In that case, if you are in police custody and they do not read you your rights, anything you say and any evidence they glean from their investigation will very likely be inadmissible in court.
When They are Not Required
When speaking to people arrested for DUI’s, police often have all the evidence that they need even before the suspect is taken into custody. This means that a reading of the Miranda Rights may not be necessary.
For instance, in the event of a traffic stop, a police officer may smell an odor of alcohol, may observe bloodshot, watery eyes, and may see coordination problems, or ask you to perform sobriety tests or take a breathalyzer test, all without reading you any Miranda Rights, as you are not in custody. Along with anything that you say or do at this time however, the results of these tests can be used against you in a court of law. If officers do not feel the need to interrogate you further, after these tests, they can choose whether or not to read you your Miranda Rights, and this will not affect the evidence that they have collected up to that point. During a traffic stop in California, you are obligated to provide the officer with your license and registration, everything after this including answering any questions, is optional.
If Your Miranda Rights are Violated
If your Miranda Rights are violated then your DUI Defense Attorney can have file a motion to have anything you said be suppressed from evidence. This does not mean that your case will be thrown out of even that everything you said to the police will be excluded. Only the statements made after your Miranda Rights should have been read to you, but were not, are eligible to be suppressed. Note that a casual conversation with a police officer may not be protected by the Fifth Amendment. Police often say that the contact, or question and answer, was voluntary, with your consent, and not part of a detention.
It is also important to note that if you choose to remain silent, prosecutors can still use evidence against you such as:
- Driving pattern
- Observable signs of mental or physical impairment (eg, flushed face, blood shot eyes)
- The presence of alcohol in the vehicle
- Your field sobriety test results
- Your blood alcohol levels
If you have questions for our Orange County DUI Lawyers, contact us at (877) 942-3090.