Do police have to read Miranda Rights in a DUI arrest?
This is one of those misnomers that most people have - that if Miranda is not read, most people think their case is automatically dismissed. Unfortunately, that is not the case.
Miranda, or the Miranda Warnings, which is taken after the Supreme Court case, Arizona versus Miranda, indicates that a law enforcement officer must read certain warnings to a criminal defendant prior to their statements being used against them in court.
Miranda Warnings come to play under two situations.
The first is, when a person is in custody and the second is when they are asked questions or under interrogation. Hence, you will hear the term, as it relates to Miranda, Custodial Interrogation. That means, if a person is in custody, and a law enforcement officer is asking that person incriminating questions, and that person prior to having those statements used against them, must have had their Miranda Warnings read them, and they must have waived them meaning that they have indicated to the law enforcement officer that they would like to speak with that officer.
Unfortunately, in most DUI cases, there is absolutely no requirement that Miranda is read, and certainly if it is not read, it does not get the case dismissed. However, that does not mean that there isn’t a portion of a DUI investigation that the Miranda Warning doesn’t apply to.
For example, if a person is arrested for DUI, they’ve been pulled over for weaving, they do a roadside field sobriety test, and that officer believes that there is probable cause to make an arrest, they go down to the police station, they blow in an intoxilyzer, and at that point, prior to being booked in a county jail, that law enforcement officer turns to that person who is in custody and says “I want to ask you some questions,”, for example, how much have you had to drink today, where were you drinking, whether or not you believe you are guilty of this crime, whether or not you believe you are under the influence of alcohol, whether or not you believe you are impaired or intoxicated.
Under that scenario, if the person is in custody, in this case, they obviously are, they’re at the police station, they are not free to leave, to they are responding to an interrogation, meaning law enforcement officer is asking them questions, which are intended to elicit information to be used against that criminal defendant, then that law enforcement officer will be required to read Miranda, have that person waive his or her Miranda Rights, before those statements against interest could be introduced in a trial. But if he didn’t read Miranda, and he didn’t ask any questions of that criminal defendant in that DUI scenario, it would not be the basis of any dismissal.
So for the purpose of Miranda in a DUI investigation, if Miranda is not read, the case does not get dismissed, but if the law enforcement officer is going to ask incriminating questions of that criminal defendant, he or she must read that criminal defendant Miranda, that person must waive their rights voluntarily before their statements against interest can be introduced against them at trial.
Want to learn more about what do to in a DUI case, check out the DUI Defense Questions in our video FAQ section.
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If you have any other questions about Miranda rights in DUI cases, contact our team at Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Haylsett, P.A. today. With 5 Tampa Bay offices to serve you, our DUI lawyers can be reached in Clearwater, Tampa, Pasco, Spring Hill and Bradenton.
Kevin Hayslett, Esq.
J. Kevin Hayslett is an attorney practicing in the areas of Criminal Defense and DUI Defense from the Clearwater office and Hillsborough office. Kevin is an avid tennis player and is currently nationally rated in singles and doubles. You can follow Kevin on Google+, Twitter, or on Radio IO on his show, "Kevin's Law". Kevin can also be heard on the Sirius Satellite Radio show during the "Ask the Lawyer" segment, which can be heard the first Thursday of every month.