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You have the right to remain silent: Miranda rights and DUIs

It’s a weekend evening, and you and your friends have been bar-hopping, having some drinks. You have had more than a few, and are feeling more than a little tipsy. Rather than call a cab or catch a ride with a designated driver, you decide to get behind the wheel and drive. But on your way home, you see the familiar red-and-blue flash of police lights: You are being pulled over for driving under the influence.

If you are arrested for a DUI, you have several rights that can protect you from incriminating yourself to law enforcement. These are called the Miranda rights, and anyone who is detained by police officers entitled to them under the law. Most people have heard of Miranda rights, but few really understand how they relate to DUI arrests.

What to know about Miranda rights and DUIs

If you have ever watched a TV crime show, you have probably heard the Miranda warning:

  • 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.
  • If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.

On TV, police officers usually say it as they are handcuffing and arresting a suspect. In fact, police officers do not have to read the Miranda rights during an arrest. When you are arrested for a DUI, it is not necessary for the officer to immediately recite your rights. The Miranda warning is required when law enforcement has you in custody and are about to question you about a crime.

The legal consequences of Miranda rights

It is often best to invoke your Miranda rights if you have been arrested for a DUI. When people are taken into police custody, they often do not understand the legal consequences of talking to police. If you decide to speak to the police, your words, no matter how innocuous they seem, can be used as evidence against you. Often, it is better to decline to speak with police and demand a criminal defense attorney.

You are guaranteed your Miranda rights, even if police officers do not read them to you. If the law enforcement officers who arrest, detain or interrogate you do not read you the Miranda warning, anything that you say is not admissible in court.

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