Do your Miranda rights apply to DUI cases?
If you have been arrested for a DUI, you may wonder — do your Miranda rights apply to DUI cases? This page examines that question and the legal issues involved when police arrest you for a DUI case.
As you might know from movies, or television, the police have to read you your rights before obtaining a confession, or admission, to a crime. Most people know, without being an attorney, the following statement:
“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney, and if you cannot afford one, one will be provided to you free of charge. Having these rights in mind, do you wish to talk to us?”
As an Orange County DUI Attorney, I’ve heard from many people that have been arrested for a DUI that state that the police never read their rights when they were arrested, and want to know if that can be a defense in their DUI case. Unfortunately, in most cases, the police officer’s failure to act in reading you your rights, or giving your Miranda rights, will not end up with the case being dismissed.
Miranda warnings are given to limit the police in situations where coercion can result, specifically in “custodial interrogation”. That term means questioning (interrogation) in situations where you are in custody, or under arrest.
While there is no debate that the questions asked during a DUI arrest are an interrogation, it has been held by California DUI caselaw that questions asked during a DUI stop, for the most part, are asked before the “custody” part of the custodial interrogation takes place. As a result, with a few exceptions, there’s no legal requirement that the police officer advise the person that they even have rights, let alone wait to ask questions.
Consent and Application of Miranda Rights to DUI cases
In most cases, the police will claim two things – consent – that you consented to confess or admit to drinking or driving once they asked you a question, or that they made observations to things out in the open that don’t require reading your rights in a DUI case. Those observations might typically include any of the following:
- an odor of an alcoholic beverage;
- bloodshot, red, or watery eyes;
- an “unsteady gait”; and / or
- slurred speech.
Because those are not considered “statements”, those are not the type of evidence that requires that your rights, including your Miranda rights, be read to you.
Blood or Breath Testing and Your Rights
Likewise, a blood test, or a breath test, and their alcohol testing results, are not the type of evidence that are subject to Miranda rights. In other words, with the observations, and your blood testing results (or breath test results), the prosecutor may be able to make a DUI case against you with admissible evidence, even if you invoke your Miranda rights and say nothing.
So Do your Miranda rights apply to DUI cases?
If a case can only be made based upon your confession, or admission, to drinking and driving, which is rare, then a failure to read your Miranda rights in a DUI case could lead to exclusion of the statements you made. But this is rare, and in most cases, the answer is no.
Contact us if you have questions about a DUI and your rights, including your Miranda rights. We can help you.