The odds are pretty good that you know your Miranda rights. Not because you learned them in a civics class, necessarily, but because you have heard them—in whole or in part—in countless TV shows and movies or read them in your favorite mystery novels when the cops make an arrest. Here they are in full:
You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?
Why are they called Miranda rights? Well, the name comes from a landmark Supreme Court case known as Miranda v. Arizona, in which the Justices ruled that Ernesto Miranda’s statements to police could not be used against him in court because the police had not advised him of his Constitutional rights.
In other words, the Supreme Court made it clear that the police cannot force you to talk with them and that they must allow you to consult with a lawyer—even if you do not have the financial means to hire a lawyer on your own. Further, the police are required to inform you of these rights, which is what they do when they read or recite a person’s Miranda rights at the time of the arrest. This has been standard practice since Miranda v. Arizona was decided in 1966.
So, that’s the history lesson. But you are probably wondering about Miranda rights in the present—especially in a case in which the cops have stopped you because they suspect you are driving drunk.
What You Need to Know About Miranda Rights and DUI
The police must read you your Miranda rights in either of the following situations:
- They have arrested you and taken you into custody.
- They begin to ask you questions that could lead to self-incrimination.
But if the police don’t arrest you and they don’t ask incriminating questions, they do not have to read you your Miranda rights. That means anything you happen to reveal to the police can potentially be used against you in court. That is why it is so important not to volunteer information to the police. Instead, respectfully ask to speak with an attorney.
If you are arrested or subjected to a potentially incriminatory interview but the police have not made you aware of your Miranda rights, statements you make cannot be used as evidence in court. Your defense attorney will vigorously insist that any information obtained improperly will not be used against you. And that could lead to the dismissal of your case.
Exceptions to the Miranda Rights Rules
We must note here that there are a few exceptions that allow the police to acquire evidence even if you haven’t been read your Miranda rights. These include:
- Police can ask about weapons as a matter of public safety. If the question leads to the discovery of a weapon, that fact is admissible in court. Other tangible evidence found in this way is also admissible.
- If a witness is discovered during a conversation with a suspect, that witness and their statements are admissible.
- If the evidence would have been inevitably discovered—even without the suspect mentioning it—that evidence is admissible.
Get an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer on Your Side Right Away
If you have been arrested for DUI, your next move should be to contact an experienced defense attorney. Your attorney will have a range of questions for you—including asking you about if and when the police read you your Miranda rights.
The skilled attorneys of Griffen & Stevens Law Firm have the experience you need on your side after an arrest. Exercise your rights by remaining silent in the face of police officer questionings, and contact us right away to discuss your case and the circumstances of your arrest.