Did you know that the police officer is not required to read you your Miranda rights when you’re arrested for drunk driving?
And did you know that police officers use this fact to get around your Miranda rights?
Thanks to the popularity of police movies and TV shows, most of us can recite the opening lines of the Miranda warning (You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you…).
However, most people also assume that officers are required to read Miranda whenever they make an arrest. That’s actually not true.
For a DUI, there are actually two conditions that must be met before the officer is required to read you your Miranda rights. The first is that are placed under arrest. The second—which most people don’t know—is that the officer continues to interrogate you.
Remember, Miranda rights are meant to inform you that you don’t have to answer any questions the officer asks you. The legal reasoning behind these two conditions is that, if you’re not being asked any questions, then there’s no need for you to know your Miranda rights.
But if these two conditions are met, and the officer still doesn’t read you your rights, a qualified DUI attorney can make sure that anything you said is excluded from evidence.
But what if the officer asks you questions before you’re arrested? Shouldn’t you be informed that you have the right not to incriminate yourself?
This loophole is exactly how police officers get around the Miranda requirement. If they can get you to say something incriminating before they arrest you, then whatever you say can go in the police report and be presented at trial and your DMV hearing.
Police officers know that most people don’t have the presence of mind to refuse to answer questions—especially while feeling the extreme anxiety of being pulled over and interrogated. Plus, refusing to answer questions feels very uncooperative, and everyone is afraid of making the officer angry. Many think that, maybe if they just answer the questions, the officer will let them go. If anything, answering the officer's questions is more likely to get them convicted.
So, if the officer asks you if you've been drinking, or how much, simply say, "I'm sorry, officer, but I've been advised not to answer any questions."
For a complete guide on what to do if you're pulled over, read the article What To Do If You're Pulled Over and Arrested for DUI.