Can a DUI be dismissed if Miranda Rights aren’t read?
“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.”
Does that sound familiar?
You probably recognize that portion of what I just said as the Miranda Rights and of course you recognize it because we hear it all the time in movies. Anytime someone gets arrested, you hear the officer saying “you have the right to remain silent.”
I’m going to explain to you the common misconception that often comes up when people think about Miranda Rights and DUI investigations.
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One of the main questions I typically get when I meet with potential clients is “the officer never read me my Miranda Rights and I was arrested for a DUI. Does this mean that my whole case gets thrown out?”
And unfortunately, the answer is no.
The case law is very clear that an officer is not required to read you your Miranda Rights during a DUI investigation.
And the key aspect as to when Miranda Rights are required is when there is a custodial interrogation.
So what does that mean? It means that after you’ve been arrested and if you’re in police custody, meaning no reasonable person believes that they’re free to leave at that time.
If the officer starts asking you questions designed to elicit incriminating responses, meaning if they start asking you questions about your drinking pattern that night and where were you going and basically interrogating you.
It’s only after that point that Miranda Rights would be required.
Miranda Rights are not required to be read to you when an officer just pulls you over and is conducting a DUI investigation, meaning when an officer is detaining you for purposes of conducting that investigation.
And if you think about it, it makes sense because once an officer pulls you over and once an officer starts conducting a DUI investigation, you haven’t been arrested at that point in time. They’re conducting a DUI investigation to determine if there is probable cause to even make an arrest.
So if an officer is asking you what’s called “pre-field sobriety test questions,” meaning an officer pulls you over and starts asking you questions about where you were going, when you were drinking, and when was the last time you had a drink, these are all questions designed for an officer to decide whether they have enough probable cause to make an arrest.
And it’s only after the arrest is made when you’re in police custody and being questioned, that the need for Miranda Rights would be triggered.
Another important thing to consider is that let’s just say that you are in police custody and you start volunteering information.
If you start volunteering information and the officer is not even asking you those questions, then in that circumstance, Miranda Rights would not be triggered.
So I would just like to reiterate that just because Miranda Rights were not necessarily read to you, that doesn’t mean that the whole case gets thrown out, and it doesn’t mean that your entire case would get dismissed.
And even if there is a Miranda violation, meaning that the officer should have read you your Miranda Rights, what happens is that the court considers those statements that you gave, and those statements could potentially be thrown out. But the overall case itself does not get thrown out.
So, there’s various different ways to fight your DUI case. And of course if we were to work together we would look at every option even if there was a violation of Miranda Rights or other options when we’re attacking the actual DUI in and of itself.
So if you’re in a situation where you feel that this might apply to you or this fact pattern might apply to you, please make sure to pick up the phone and give us a call and we’d be more than happy to discuss your options during a legal consultation.