What Are Your Miranda Rights & Why Do They Matter in a DUI Case?

People usually don’t know about Miranda rights by their name, but you’ve most probably heard the phrase “you have the right to remain silent,” be it in movies, or TV serials, or somewhere else. These are your Miranda rights, and they will affect the outcome of your case, if you use these rights effectively, you can save yourself a lot of damage in a DUI arrest. Once the damage has been done, it can’t be undone; if you’re arrested for DUI, you can only try to make things better. Damage control will let you avoid bigger trouble down the road.

Your civil rights are still applicable in the case of a DUI, though not in full, and you should be aware of what you need to do and what you don’t have to. Don’t say “yes” to everything, there’s a lot you don’t have to do, for instance, you don’t have to consent to a car search, you can also skip the field sobriety tests, and you don’t have to give any legal statement (or even answer questions) before you’ve contacted your lawyer. However, for this article, our focus will be primarily on your Miranda rights and what they mean for you.

In such situations, it is best not to wait a moment to contact your Charleston DUI defense attorney, because what you say and do will affect the outcome of your case.

What Happens During a DUI Arrest?

When an arresting officer stops your vehicle on the suspicion of DUI, given that they have reasonable doubt that you are indeed drunk, they’ll ask you to take a Breathalyzer test to make sure that this is the case. Now, let’s assume that you test positive for drunkenness (whether you were drunk or not is irrelevant at this point).

The officer will arrest you; you don’t have to say anything at this point or allow a car search, or do field sobriety tests, and so on. If the officer asks you any questions, they must first declare your Miranda rights, but in either case, you can respond simply as: “I would like to speak to my defense lawyer first.”

What Are Miranda Rights?

Your Miranda rights allow you to choose to speak or not – since your actions and words will determine the outcome of your case, it is important to know when to speak and what to say. Normally, and this is what the protocol dictates, the police officer must declare your rights when they put you under arrest and begin questioning you.

Both of these preconditions must be met.

If the officer does not declare your Miranda rights, that does not mean that they don’t apply – they still do, and you can (and should) refuse to give statements and answers before you get to discuss your case with a DUI defense lawyer. Let’s assume that you say something incriminating without the knowledge of your Miranda rights (if they were not announced), then your words won’t be considered proper evidence.

Also, the police can’t force you to give a statement, you only have to talk when you’re legally required to, and that’s after you’ve discussed the whole thing with your lawyer.

What If Your Miranda Rights Were Violated?

If your Miranda rights were violated, meaning that the police officer did not announce them before asking your incriminating questions (and you answered), all is not lost. The first thing you have to do is to discuss your case with your defense lawyer; mention how you gave a statement, not knowing of your Miranda rights.

Your lawyer will first assess the possible damage that your words can do, and then file a motion in the court for your words to be considered inadmissible as evidence since they were extracted illegally (in violation of your rights). Hopefully, this will make things better for you.

Discuss Your Case With Us

DUI is a serious offense, but most of all: it can be prevented. Of course, none of this helps once you’ve been charged and arrested, time is scant for people going through criminal charges. There is so much that has been put on a halt because of this and you have to get back to your routine. This is why there can’t be any delays with contacting your DUI defense attorney.

At Charleston DUI, we don’t judge, we represent – bad things happen, and we can only rectify them to make the situation better for you. If you ever run into trouble (we hope you don’t), you know who to call.