When someone is arrested on TV, the cop automatically starts to "read the person his rights." On TV, this usually means telling the arrested person that he has the right to remain silent, that anything he says can be used against him in a court of law, that he has the right to have an attorney present during questioning, etc. However, not receiving your Miranda rights won’t necessarily get your DUI charge thrown out.
Miranda Rights in a DUI Case
Police officers are not required to give Miranda warnings immediately upon arresting someone, nor do Miranda rights apply to the preliminary questioning of a subject before he is arrested. In a DUI case, this means that your answers to the initial questions an officer asks while determining if you are intoxicated can be admitted as evidence with no Miranda warning. Two examples of questions that are most often relevant in a DUI case are "Have you been drinking?" and "How much have you had to drink tonight?"
However, a formal investigation requires a Miranda warning before evidence can be used in court. If you were interrogated by the police after being taken into custody and you were not given a Miranda warning, your statements can not be used against you.
After you are read your Miranda rights, you must affirmatively state that you understand these rights before the interrogation can proceed. If you state that you wish to remain silent or want to speak to an attorney, all questioning must stop.
Protecting Your Legal Rights
Although the majority of incriminating statements in a Virginia DUI case come before the suspect is taken into custody, there are many situations where this issue still arises in the defense of drunk driving cases. If you believe your statements should be inadmissible due to a law enforcement officer's failure to read you your Miranda rights, this is an issue that should be discussed in greater detail with a qualified defense attorney.
Virginia attorney T. Kevin Wilson has extensive experience assisting those who've been charged with a DUI in building a solid defense. To learn more, please call to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.