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The U.S. and California constitutions protect the rights of individuals from unfair and invasive law enforcement activities. Protecting the rights of individuals means making sure that individuals understand their rights when they’re under arrest and charged with a crime. When you’re facing a DUI arrest, the arresting officer has an obligation to make you aware of your rights. Here’s what an officer must tell someone following a DUI arrest:
Your Miranda Rights
When you’re arrested, law enforcement must inform you of your rights. Your rights are commonly called your Miranda rights. The name comes from the case Miranda v. Arizona. Law enforcement must inform the arrested person about their rights so that the person can choose how to proceed in the case.
The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees a person’s due process rights. That means that the government can’t deprive a person of their liberty without the proper processes and procedures to make sure that the deprivation of their liberty is fair. The Sixth Amendment guarantees that a person has a right to the assistance of an attorney when they’re charged with a crime.
What are your Miranda rights?
The officer must tell you:
You may stay silent
It’s your choice to answer questions. You don’t have to answer any questions
If you ask, you may consult with an attorney before speaking with police
When you choose to speak to the police, your attorney may accompany you
If you decide to answer questions without an attorney, you can stop answering questions anytime you want to
When they must tell you about your Miranda rights
Your Miranda rights apply following your DUI arrest. As soon as you’re under arrest, law enforcement must tell you about your rights. They shouldn’t proceed with questioning you about the case until they’ve told you about your rights. However, they don’t need to tell you about your rights until you’re under arrest. They can lawfully ask you questions during the traffic stop without informing you of your rights.
What happens when you exercise your right to a lawyer?
If you tell law enforcement that you want to consult with a lawyer, they must stop questioning you. All of the questions should stop at that point. They can still arrest you and charge you. However, they shouldn’t continue to ask you to answer questions.
Your chemical test rights
When you’re arrested for DUI, law enforcement should also inform you of your chemical test rights. When you operate a motor vehicle in the state, it’s implied that you agree to take a chemical test to measure your alcohol and drug intoxication levels if law enforcement suspects you of drunk driving. The rule of implied consent applies to all drivers in the state.
Following a DUI arrest, the arresting officer must inform you of your chemical test rights. They must tell you about the implied consent rules in place. They must tell you that you have an obligation to take the test. Finally, the officer must tell you that if you refuse to take the chemical test, your driver’s license will be suspended.
The arresting officer should read you these chemical test rights before asking you to take a chemical test. The officer should tell you that the suspension is a summary suspension that applies regardless of whether or not you’re convicted of DUI. You may also lose your right to drive a commercial vehicle.
If you’re under 21 years old
When law enforcement arrests a minor, they must also warn the minor that there are consequences if the test reveals that they have an alcohol content. If a minor takes a chemical test that reveals an alcohol content of any kind, their license is suspended even if they’re not charged or convicted of DUI. A minor should receive this warning from an officer following their DUI arrest.
Instructions for taking a chemical test
When law enforcement asks you to submit to a chemical test, they should tell you how to take the test. They should give you instructions. Law enforcement must tell you this information because they can’t fairly accuse you of failing to properly take the test if they don’t tell you what to do.
What happens if law enforcement doesn’t inform you of your rights?
If law enforcement doesn’t tell you about your rights, the evidence they collect against you may not be admissible. That means that the chemical test results and your statements to law enforcement may not be admissible at trial. It’s up to you to ask the court to suppress the evidence collected unfairly. An experienced DUI lawyer can help you review your case and evaluate whether law enforcement made errors in your case.