One of the most common questions people ask about after being arrested is about their Miranda rights. This can be even more confusing after a DUI arrest, because in those cases the officers usually do not even bother with reading them.
What Are Miranda Rights?
Miranda rights are a series of warnings that police officers may give you during an arrest. In the most common form the officer will likely advise you of the following:
- 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 provided for you.
Miranda rights are based on your 5th Amendment constitutional right against self-incrimination and your 6th Amendment constitutional right to counsel. In the landmark United States Supreme Court decision Miranda v. Arizona (1966) 384 U.S. 436, the Supreme Court held that incriminating statements made after a person is in police custody cannot be used against him unless he was informed of rights against incrimination and to counsel beforehand.
When Does A Police Officer Have to Read My Miranda Rights?
Technically, a police officer never has to read you your Miranda rights. However, your Miranda rights kick-in when:
- You are in custody/under arrest, and
- Subject to an interrogation.
If the police ask you any incriminating questions after your arrest, without first giving your Miranda warning, and you answer, those statements cannot be used against you in court.
How Does This Apply to A DUI Case?
In DUI cases, police officers usually ask all of their incriminating questions before you are in custody. For example, after an officer pulls you over and begins a DUI investigation, he will usually ask you several incriminating questions including where you are coming from, if you had anything to drink, etc.
Even though you may feel you are in custody while you are pulled over and subjected to field sobriety tests, the Supreme Court, with confusing rational, held that being subject to a police investigation is different from being in police custody and not subject to Miranda. Therefore the questions asked during your DUI investigation are not subject to Miranda.
So, by the time the officer arrests you and your Miranda rights kick-in, the officers usually don’t need anymore information from you, and do not ask you any further questions. Consequently, whether or not an officer read you your Miranda rights is usually a non-issue in DUI cases.
Are Their Any Protections Against Incriminating Police Questions Before My Arrest?
Yes! Regardless of your Miranda rights, you ALWAYS have your 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination and 6th Amendment right to an attorney. Once you invoke these rights, the police officer can no longer ask you any incriminating statements regardless of whether he has just pulled you over or is booking you in the station.