What do Miranda Rights mean in a DUI Arrest?


Almost everyone is familiar with the reading of “Miranda rights” from television and movies, though many people do not fully understand when Miranda warnings are required or the implications that these rights have. The following is a brief overview of the effects of Miranda rights during a DUI arrest.

The term “Miranda rights” stems from the case Miranda v. Arizona, in which the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that, under certain circumstances, an individual must be informed by law enforcement officers of their rights to be protected from self-incrimination under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Though no exact wording was set out in the case, a Miranda rights advisement generally includes that you have:

  • The right to remain silent (and that what you choose to say can be used against you)
  • The right to consult with an attorney and have one with you during police questioning (an attorney may be appointed if you cannot afford one)
  • The right to exercise your Miranda rights at any time

Many people are under the mistaken belief that any police encounter warrants a Miranda warning, though this is not the case. In order for Miranda to be required, the following two circumstances must exist: (1) you must be in custody/under arrest and (2) the police must be interrogating you. Interrogation means that officers are asking questions with the intention of obtaining incriminating answers. This means that a police officer does not have to read your Miranda rights if they have not yet placed you in custody or if they have arrested you but have not yet asked you any interrogating questions.

What happens after Miranda rights are read?

Once the police advise you of your Miranda rights, you may assert your right to stay silent or to have an attorney present at any point, even if you have already begun to answer some of their questions. Once you assert these rights, police must immediately stop questioning you without an attorney there to represent you.

Even if you do choose to consent to being questioned without an attorney present, police must have the ability to later demonstrate that your consent was all of the following in order for the consent to be valid:

  • Knowing;
  • Intelligent; and
  • Voluntary.

This means that police cannot trick you into answering questions or coerce you to consent through violence or threats of violence. Often, this means that police will have you sign a written consent form. In some situations, a written waiver may not even be enough to prove legal consent. For example, if a person is not able to understand or read english, they may not realize and understand what they are signing.

Miranda rights violations may result in a defense attorney having the answers to interrogating questions excluded from evidence due to violation of your constitutional rights. For this reason and many more, the assistance of a DUI defense lawyer is imperative for any DUI-related case. If you have been arrested or charged for DUI, please call an experienced Denver DUI defense lawyer at the Tiftickjian Law Firm to discuss your case today.

Photo Credit: Rubén Díaz Alonso via Compfight cc

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