When facing a DUI charge, many drivers want to know what their rights are to ensure that they don’t incriminate themselves or make the state’s case harder to fight. One of the often asked questions regarding DUI offenses is whether police officers are required to read Miranda rights to a person they are charging. The answer is yes and no, which leaves many people confused.
What are Miranda Rights?
Miranda rights essentially protect a person in custody from incriminating themselves by making statements that are not in their best interest. It’s for this reason that the Miranda statement includes a sentence about hiring a lawyer. If you can’t afford a lawyer the state will appoint one at no cost.
When Do Police Read You Your Rights?
Miranda rights can be read at any time, either at the time of arrest or once the person is already in custody at the police station. Police officials only have to read you your rights if they are going to ask you questions that pertain to the DUI arrest. Therefore, if a police officer simply arrests a person for DUI and has no intention of talking about the events, they are not required to read Miranda rights. Most police officers read Miranda rights at the moment of arrest just in case the person in custody begins talking about the case. Once at the police station, a person can be booked or held without having heard their rights. It’s only if officials decide to question them that the reading of rights is required.
What Do Miranda Rights Protect?
The only thing that Miranda rights protect are your verbal statements, not your actions or anything else regarding the case. If police do not read you your rights, nothing that you say can be used against you in filing charges or in a court of law. Once your rights are read, every word you say from that moment on can be included as part of the state’s case against you. Additionally, if you decide to answer questions the police offer will require a written or video waiver of Miranda rights.
Can a Case Be Dismissed If Rights Aren’t Read?
Many DUI defendants mistakenly believe that if a police officer does not read them their rights that their case has to be dismissed. That simply isn’t true. Police can arrest and charge an individual with DUI based on a breathalyzer test, field sobriety test and impaired driving. They never have to ask any questions, which means that they do not have to read the person their Miranda rights. However, if the officer will be asking any questions relevant to the DUI offense, the Miranda must be read.
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