Thanks to television shows, and movies, just about everyone in the United States is familiar with Miranda Rights and Miranda warnings. How Miranda Applies in DUI Cases is not as clear.
“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you free of charge prior to questioning. Having these rights in mind, do you want to talk to us?”
Many people complain that they were never given Miranda warnings when arrested in their DUI case. Unfortunately, in almost all cases, the arresting officer’s failure to give Miranda will not result in the case being dismissed.
Miranda warnings are designed to prevent overreaching by police in situations that are inherently coercive, specifically where there is “custodial interrogation”. Custodial means that the person is not free to leave, or otherwise terminate the encounter. Interrogation refers to direct questions, or their functional equivalent, that are designed to elicit incriminating information.
While there is no debate that the questions asked by the officer are an “interrogation”, it has been held by the courts that most of the questions that are asked of suspects in a DUI case are asked before the person is in custody for purposes of Miranda. That means that in most cases, there is no legal obligation for the peace officer to advise the person of their Miranda rights. Where there is a Miranda violation, it will merely result in the suppression of statements obtained as the result of the violation.
Of course, this does not mean that there is no further discussion on this point. The reported cases that deal with the ability of police officers to ask limited investigative questions in a roadside scenario do not go as far as many police officers do. There are still legal challenges to be made, and a skilled DUI defense lawyer will know just what to do to make the most out of an officer’s failure to warn a suspect for their rights. The most important thing is to get a lawyer who is qualified to help you, and answer that lawyer’s questions as accurately and honestly as possible. This will always give you the best chance of success.
How Miranda Applies in DUI Cases- Note that in some cases, statements made by a defendant, in compliance with, or in violation of, Miranda is the biggest source of evidence to be used against a defendant. So suppressing the confession, or admission, of where the robbery cash is buried, or where the body is, can result in a dismissal of the entire case. In a DUI case, however, the blood or breath test is the primary evidence (along with observations of who is driving, or observations of symptoms of intoxication). Suppressing the statements of the driver would not cause a dismissal, as the breath or blood test, and observations, would still come in as evidence.