What Are The Miranda Rights & Why Do They Matter In A DUI Case?

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The Miranda Rights are pretty common knowledge due to popular culture. If you watch enough TV, you probably already know what a police officer says when they arrest someone. “You have the right to remain silent, anything you say can be held against you in a court of law.” Well, this is one of the things that they are supposed to, or rather ‘have’ to say after an arrest, if they’re going to interrogate someone.

This is a clear announcement of the rights of the person being arrested, and the law enforcer is legally required to let them know what their rights are in this matter. Yes, even someone who is being arrested for DUI or a car crash because of DUI, has legal rights.

Miranda rights or Miranda warning is when the arresting officer reads out the legal rights of the person being arrested. This is an important part of a DUI arrest, and if you were not told your rights at the time of interrogation/questioning, then you should discuss that with your Portland DUI defense lawyer.

Miranda Rights – When They Apply & When Not

When the police officer first stops you on the roadside out of suspicion for DUI, they don’t have to announce your Miranda rights. At this stage, you are not under investigation or arrest, you’re simply being suspected for DUI – let’s presume that the doubts are correct.

The arresting officer needs proof, and that’s why they’ll ask you to do an alcotest: simply breathe into a Breathalyzer machine. If you think that you can avoid being incriminated for DUI by refusing this test, then brush that thought aside, saying no at this point will actually further affirm the suspicion.

If the alcotest turns out positive, i.e. you had more than the legal blood alcohol concentration, then the officer can arrest you.

At this stage, the officer might ask you questions about how much you drank, or where were you coming from, and so on. But before they can ask you anything, they must declare your Miranda rights so that you know what you have to do and what you can refuse to do.

Pretty much anything after the alcotest is optional – the officers will arrest you if your test was positive, but you are not required to answer their questions, or to give consent for a car search, or to go through the various field sobriety tests.

In short, the basic requirement for announcing the Miranda rights is when the suspect has been arrested and is being questioned. Unless both of these conditions are satisfied, there is no need to announce the rights (because it doesn’t matter otherwise).

They need not read these rights during the investigation phase, i.e. when they ask you to go through a Breathalyzer test, or when they’ve arrested you but not questioned you about anything. Whether or not they announce your Miranda rights (they should, and if they don’t, tell your lawyer), you are not legally bound to say anything unless you’ve had a word with your lawyer.

What To Do In Case Of A Miranda Rights Violation?

Let’s say that you were not made aware of your Miranda rights before interrogation and you, under the pressure of the moment, gave some incriminating statements. Even in this case, all is not lost, firstly, you should mention this thing to your DUI defense lawyer. Tell them how you were not told that you could’ve stayed silent.

Your DUI defense lawyer will then file a “motion to suppress evidence” which simply means that any evidence or statements gathered from you in violation of your Miranda rights be considered inadmissible in your case. If the motion is passed, which is likely to happen, then the case against you will suffer an irreparable blow (for minor cases only).

Following this, your lawyer can secure a plea bargain for you or have your case dismissed altogether.

Call A DUI Defense Attorney As Soon As Possible

Based on all the information provided in this article, it should be clear to you that your lawyer is your only friend when it comes to a DUI case. While you should be respectful to the officer, there is no need to compromise your rights. If you don’t know them all, then you should ask them to tell you what you are legally obliged to do and what you can say no to.

Your lawyer should be the first person with whom you discuss all the details of your case, even the incriminating part. A DUI defense attorney needs to know the full picture so that they can help you through this mess.

DUI is a serious offense, but anyone can make a mistake, you should not surrender in despair and instead contact our capable DUI defense lawyers at the Trilogy Law Group for legal advice and action!

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